We think of all our friends in Christchurch we think of those that passed away and those that lost everything on that horrible day one year ago.

ONE year on from the devastating February earthquake in Christchurch, the focus for the city is on its recovery.

This is going to be a somewhat depressing post. But then again, central Christchurch is a somewhat depressing place right now. Besides, the post will lighten up towards the end, I promise. On 22 Feb 2011, an earthquake destroyed much of the city centre. Some buildings collapsed completely, many more were rendered uninhabitable. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to visit Christchurch almost a year later. I had been told that there “wasn’t much to see any more”, which is true if you like historical buildings, and false if you like spray paint and cordons.

However, there are things to be optimistic about. Famous for their ingenuity, the Kiwis have found a way to keep commerce going even in the stricken areas: shipping containers. When I first heard that there was a “container mall” in the town centre, I imagined a bleak corridor of metal bearing BP and Monsanto logos like some illegal Hong Kong gun market from an action film. The reality was pleasingly well executed (and unlike most inner city malls, there’s no shortage of parking space because of all the demolished buildings)

Yes, that’s a shipping container, heavily remodelled. The bar was full of locals and tourists and could have been in any world city. There was even a group of men in pink leotards pouring beer down the throat of their soon-to-be-betrothed friend.