Life ... I'm blessed to be more than a degree away from this loss. It is the worst, as we all know. This earthquake will cause a great deal of grief for many around the world. I haven't lived in this city long enough to have an expansive network, but even I know people who have suffered this loss. The friends were I am living, an older couple, both grew up here. Already they know that they are connected to at least four building missing in the city. This loss is the greatest of all losses.
Confidence...how does a city rebuild world confidence? How can Christchurch claw through the destruction and come back a city that people will want to do busniness in and with? What tourist will come here? What language student will study here? What conference will be held here? People from twenty countries are missing in our city right now. How do we get confidence again? How do the people of Christchurch get the confidence to walk the streets again? How do you trust the buildings above your heads? How do trust the high-rise car parks? Confidence is lost.
Heritage and History...Christchurch was a different sort of city in this country. New Zealand is a young country. When you fly into Auckland you see a city that thriving and new. So shiny and bright. Heritage buildings are scattered across the cities and its suburb. Christchurch is a city where the buildings of history dominate. Brick, stone and concrete. When I came here almost 6 years ago I understood why this is said to be 'the most English city outside England.' After spending so many happy years in Cambridge, I found happiness in being here. It was comfortable. The city founders must have thought and planned to make this city as much like home as possible . It was a warm and comfortable city, with its lovely old buildings. The announcement today that half the brick buildings will have to be destroyed and a third of the city demolished is a painful loss of history.
I feel these losses too. It is not just the city that has suffered this, it is personal, it is me. My confidence is shaken. (Earthquake pun alert!) My heritage and history is lost, broken and shattered.