Many writers labour over the details of their characters and the environs they inhabit. In fantasy, the towns and cities and building can take on any form their imagination allows.

In real life, Christchurch city in New Zealand has to juggle the reality of what is lost and what is left, while building for a future that includes a fantasy – a fantasy that another earthquake will not shatter the heart of the city!

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral is a symbol of the past, mostly shattered.

Virtually the whole of the CBD is being rebuilt, and there are city blocks after city blocks that are still empty, many serving as expansive carparks.

Christchurch rebuilding

The new buildings have structures that suggest they will be as strong as battleships, able to ride any earth tremor wave.

Yet the new building goes on everywhere. Alongside the landmark new structures are all the new builds and rebuilds, the trucks and cranes and workmen and noise all competing for your attention.

Christchurch rebuilding

A ‘contained’ wall, one of many methods used to save buildings or prevent further damage.

You might walk five blocks to find a cafe, and then there will be three at once. Yet everywhere you’ll find Kiwi good humour and a DIY attitude that is reflected in great beauty or great ingenuity.

A visit and walk around Christchurch, any time of year, is highly recommended. For writers and even ordinary humans.

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