After leaving Wellington we flew to the South Island to begin our seven-day visit to the lower half of New Zealand. We spent one full day in the central Christchurch area and learned a great deal about how they’re coping with the rebuild efforts after the major earthquakes that have struck the region starting in September, 2010.
Beginning with the 7.1 quake of September 4th, there have been some 26 earthquakes of 5.0 or stronger (and two of 6.0 or more) that have wreaked havoc on the city and the surrounding area.
Some 70% of the central business district was or is going to be torn down. Almost every building built before 1980 was destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Only a handful of older buildings will be saved and renovated, one of which is the city’s 19th century cathedral.