Amazingly, it’s exactly 1000 days since 4 September 2010, the day that changed Christchurch for ever (although we didn’t realise how much at the time). Looking back at that time, when we all thought we’d dodged a bullet, that this dreadful thing had happened but it was ok because it was only stuff that got damaged, not people, and realising how innocent we were of what was still to come is such a strange feeling.
So much has changed over those 1000 days. We’ve lost our city centre, but found a new joy in it as we slowly gain it back street by street. I think it will be a long time before we take that space for granted again. So many people have lost family and friends, homes, jobs, money, their mental and physical health, but we’ve all learnt a lot about our strength, and our resilience, and our capacity for helping each other. And I think we’ve all become a lot more attached to this poor battered city of ours, despite all its problems, its ugly gaps, its broken roads, its still unstable ground.
I think that’s why the government is polling so badly here compared to the rest of the country. We see the people still living in broken homes, still fighting insurance companies, and getting no real help, we see the government whittling away our democracy in the name of efficiency, and seeming to value big business more than people, we see our hopes and dreams for our city being disregarded in favour of vanity projects, and we see the minister in charge of it all calling anyone who complains a whiner – is it any wonder we’re angry?
But we’ve survived 1000 days. And I think Christchurch should be proud of that. If we can survive all that, we can survive anything.