Four years on from the deadly February 22 2011 earthquake in Christchurch / Ōtautahi:
I remember the 181 people who died and the many, many others who were injured or lost their homes.
I acknowledge that the recovery is far from over, with swathes of deserted land, unaffordable housing and increased mental health issues.
I salute the spirit of the people of Canterbury who have kept on keeping on throughout – and reflect that, as a Wellingtonian, I can never truly understand what this really involves.
I toast the city’s future – we are perhaps seeing the bold and quirky beginnings of what could be the best city in the world. (Christchurch / Ōtautahi was rated number two of the top 52 places to visit in 2014 by the New York Times and is a great place to visit – so if you are not a Christchurch resident and haven’t visited recently, head on down.)
And finally I am grateful that at Todd Foundation we have been able to play a small role in supporting the recovery. Following on from our $2m Earthquake Recovery Fund and other support, last week we announced that our $1m grant for children and youth in the new Christchurch goes to YMCA Christchurch’s planned Youth Art Place at the Museum of Street Art . The space is currently home to the Spectrum Street Art exhibition and I’m looking forward to checking this out – as well as the fabulous and bigger than ever Te Matatini festival of Kapa Haka– in the first week of March.
But this weekend I simply remember – and I salute Christchurch / Ōtautahi.