in August was pretty confronting. It's in ruin. That gorgeous spire toppled in the force of the earthquake in February 2011, and that gaping space where is was smacks you in the face with the reality of a city still far from rebuilding.
Walking around the city centre, you could be mistaken that you have wondered into a modern day ghost town - there is such limited activity, very little people, and not much is functioning and open.
There is also a mall in town, next to the actual mall, set up in containers, so that businesses can continue to trade - Re:Start is a genius pop up shopping precinct which is such a symbol of resilience for this city.
I had thought the idea of a touristy exhibit about the quake could be in bad taste when I first heard about it, but after walking through the streets to Re:Start, I decided to visit to get a better understanding of these 2 quakes that happened in a tight time space, and has effectively brought this city to a standstill.
Quake City steps through the experiences of the quake, the loss, the damage, and the aftermath. It made it the sights out in the street make sense, and honoured the lost 185 lives in the Feb 2011 quake. Personal accounts, pieces recovered.... Incredibly sad, and powerful displays, I spent a bit of time here taking it all in.
Back out into the streets, I continued walking around the town centre, getting a view of the ruins.
Amid all this rubble and sad devastation, there is hope - and art! Every other corner has a community arts project, bringing colour and life to an area stripped of so much.