Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Zealand - About Christchurch

Welcome to New Zealand - About Christchurch
The Town Imagined
Origins to 1852 - and beyond to this day...

The earliest human inhabitants of the area now covered by the city of Christchurch - Moa-hunters, or Archaic Phase Eastern Polynesians - probably arrived as early as AD 1000. At that time the coastal wetland was a thick forest of matai and totara, and parts of the Canterbury Plains may also have been forested. As well as killing off the moa (by about 1450), these earliest inhabitants also burned down forest. Any descendants of the Moa-hunters would have been killed or absorbed by migrating classical Phase Maori from the North Island, most notably Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

By the early nineteenth century the Ngai Turahuriri sub-tribe of Ngai Tahu controlled the coastal area between Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Hurunui river. Their largest fortified pa, at Kaiapoi, may have held as many as a thousand people at its peak and was a major centre for trade in pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. Several smaller unfortified kainga, or seasonal settlements, were located within the present city boundaries, most notably at Putaringamotu (Riccarton) and Papanui, where isolated islands of tall forest had survived in a sea of tussock grassland and swamp.

Possibly as many as five thousand Maori lived in central Canterbury by 1800, mostly at Kaiapoi and on Banks Peninsula, where the main settlements were at Akaroa, Puari (Port Levy), Purau and Rapaki. The main track between Kaipoi and Rapaki passed through the heart of the present city, following sandy ridges through the swamps which then lay between the two main rivers, Otakaro (Avon) and Opawaho (Heathcote). Putaringamotu in particular was a valuable mahinga kai, or food-gathering place, with an abundance of birds, eels, fish and freshwater crayfish. The Maori name for Christchurch is Otautahi, 'the place of Tautahi', a Ngai Tahu chief who was buried near the present St Luke's Church vicarage around the 1750s. The first Europeans known to set foot in Canterbury were from the sealing ship Governor Bligh, which spent a fortnight in one of the Bays of Banks Peninsula about 1815. But the first to visit the site of what is now Christchurch stayed only long enough to bury one of their shipmates.

For further information, you are all invited to click on the Link below:



Further Web sites with relevant URLs are currently under construction for your reading.

Thank you all
Best wishes

Jane Resture

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 Domain 100GB Traffic A Week 9/3/11

To All My Friends And Visitors,

Greetings to all!

Just a short note of thanks and appreciation to friends and visitors to all my four Domains and Web pages within those Domains:

I would like to share with you all that, as of yesterday, 9/3/11, is, in itself, happily and thankfully experiencing, joining the other 3 Domains above, a visitation traffic in excess of 100GB a week. Thank you everybody for your kind support - let me assure you that your support and encouragement are most welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Christchurch Earthquake And The Aftermath 2011

Greetings to all!

At this time, our thoughts and prayers are still with the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, who suffered such terrible losses during the recent earthquake that came largely without warning. The world watched as this very sad catastrophe unfolded before our very eyes and we could not help but shed tears for our Pacific Island/Oceania neighbours. To our dear Oceania neighbours, may the good Lord help and guide you along as you rebuild shattered lives and your beautiful city.

I have taken the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on Christchurch and the longer term implications of this terrible tragedy below:

Central Christchurch on the River Avon was such a gentle place, built in the late 19th century around a cathedral and a college from the dreams of British pilgrims to emulate Christ Church, Oxford.

Now, as emergency workers struggle to retrieve bodies from the wreckage of a fine dream turned to dust, the Christchurch Cathedral itself reduced from national treasure to ruined tomb, the 375,000 inhabitants of this city are consumed by a near unthinkable dread.

Is it possible that New Zealand's second largest city, having found itself on the lip of one of the world's most active earthquake zones, has no future?

This deadly earthquake has all but destroyed Christchurch's central business district, a square kilometre with Cathedral Square at its centre and bounded by four avenues: Bealey, Fitzgerald, Moorhouse and Deans. Previously, 50,000 people, the core of the city's middle class, worked within those four avenues. Less than an hour later not one of them had a job to go to and hundreds were dead.

Where tourists flocked and the city came to work and dine, police and military now guard every corner, refusing entry to all but emergency workers, residents with identification and media with accreditation. Three large conventions worth more than $NZ10 million ($A7.4 million) were to have set the area humming that week. Instead, by night the district is empty during curfew; a vision from a nightmare.

No one knows when, or if, the big banks, law firms, retailers, hotels, insurance companies, convention centres, arts establishments and scores of smaller businesses and restaurants might rebuild or reopen.

Christchurch is the venue for some of the biggest games in the Rugby World Cup to be held in New Zealand in September 2011. Senior rugby figures have so far refused to consider moving the games, but with the city's eight biggest hotels out of business and the biggest of all, the 26-storey Grand Chancellor on the point of collapse, Christchurch authorities are privately conceding that it will not be possible to accommodate the huge crowds expected.

New Zealand sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire", the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year. It averages at least one a day that is magnitude 4.0 or stronger. This "Ring of Fire" extends through the Melanesian archipelago, Japan and The United States West coast, and in particular California.

Rebuilding after a disaster, as soon as possible, in the same place and in the same way is the usual and expected community response. These emotional responses are intended to reduce community fears that homes will not arise again and property values will sink, destroying many people’s savings. While these statements are well intended, they need to be tempered with some reality.

The question for Christchurch, after the recent devastating earthquake, should not be whether the city will be rebuilt but how it will be rebuilt safely. This means patience and courage will be needed so a better city emerges. Assurances have to be given soon that the city can emerge from this trauma stronger that it was before the deadly earthquake.
The best way to do this is to assure everyone that they will have a place to live of equal value in the new Christchurch, but maybe not the same place or built in the same way.

The Japanese port city of Kobe faced this problem after its 1995 earthquake. In typical Japanese fashion, its authorities determined to build a better city by re-designing the spatial pattern, altering building codes and transforming the notion of property rights from absolute location to a place in the community that best fit the person’s needs.

In this instance, Kobe citizens worked with planners in every district of the city to rebuild their neighbourhoods in a new, modern way that, in many cases, moved away from single-family detached structures to higher density, more strongly constructed, multifamily living units.

Everyone moved back into or near a neighbourhood of choice — not necessarily to the same one as before the earthquake, but to an equivalent-value space in the city. Some families moved into stronger single-family dwellings, but in most cases, higher-rise or attached dwellings were safer and better alternatives. In Kobe, every family exercised the choice that met their needs based on age and income.

New Zealanders — and Australians — will want to continue the familiar form of single-family housing on their own block of land. But this may have to be done more along the model of New Orleans. There, more tightly built, safer homes are being constructed in clusters, with better building materials and safety systems, along with community services, shops and other activities located centrally.

Soon it will be time for residents of the beautiful city of Christchurch to rebuild by putting the safety of the total community at the core of the project, and not just to consider building better individual dwellings. Christchurch can view this as the opportunity to create sustainable and survivable neighbourhoods that can stand on their own, with local supplies, water and power, as well as community shelters. These communities should have a variety of housing forms that can withstand severe shocks.

In this respect, there are plenty of precedents. After Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974, the Darwin Reconstruction Commission rebuilt the city. The Bring New Orleans Back Commission helped resurrect the city after hurricane Katrina. Of course, New Zealand has been here before. After an earthquake razed Napier in 1931 - - two commissioners rebuilt the city centre, assisted by the voluntary Napier Reconstruction Committee. Streets were widened, old mistakes rectified and beautiful buildings erected in the midst of the Depression. It is now a thriving art deco haven.

Indeed, at this time, Christchurch has to engage its citizens in looking at the best international alternatives in earthquake safety in California and Japan. Community members should share with everyone the best information about the kind of city they want to live in, while retaining its distinctive charm, given the dangers they will continue to face.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Belated Merry Christmas And A Happy, Blessed, Prosperous & Safe New Year!

To all my very dear friends and family, my belated Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Prosperous, Blessed and Safe New Year to you all!

At last, I am slowly settling in my new place and I'm back to doing one of the things that I truly and genuinely love -- i.e. enjoy working and sharing those things about our beloved places: Oceania/Pacific Islands. I am now able to utilise my computer again to catch up with what's happening in beautiful Oceania/Pacific Islands and their wonderful and beautiful people :-) Also, I would like to take this wonderful opportunity to thank all my dear and beloved friends and relatives who took the time to write and to remind me that I am getting older hehehe!! Just kidding! To all of you my dear and wonderful friends, I thank you so very much for your kind words, with much love and appreciation. Louisa, Rosa, Johanna, my dear niece Jane Taafaki, Aileen in beautiful Canberra, etc. -- thank you so much for your most kind words and for your most appreciated best wishes on my 21st birthday!!! Did I say, 21st ??? hehehe!! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you - no words can adequately express my very sincere appreciation and gratitude. On my birthday, I remembered you all with much love and I truly felt as though we were still out there together on our beautiful islands - Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, etc. - and Taborio, Tarawa, with my dear IHC friends, laughing and enjoying ourselves, swimming out there in that beautiful lagoon trying to catch some fish to go with ara ben, te moimoto ma te mori ke? - hehehe :-) A rang ni kamaeu taai akanne ke? So much to share and I also thank those wonderful friends who have all been so very supportive during 2010. Thank you so much to you all.

My very sincere thanks go to you, my dear friend, Nigel Quai from Vanuatu, for your very beautiful words, your sharing your daughter, Vanessa's fantastic CDs (including other CDs by Vanuatu artists) - they are all now playing on our Pacific Islands Radio Stations - along with your most kind, supportive and encouraging e-mails - much appreciated.

By the way, the two Newsletters, both Jane's Oceania Home Page and Jane's Pacific Islands Radio - that I promised to send out before Christmas 2010 - my apologies for the delay - I just did not have much time as I was in between two home addresses :-) They will now be sent out to all members and friends in a few days -be assured that, I shall get there very soon, eventually, I promise, now that I am able to work on my computer, at my new address :-) Thanks and the Best to all!

That's all for now my dear friends and take care -- enjoy your day - and 2011!!! Happy New Year!