I recently squeezed in one more adventure before 2014 came to a close and managed to check a few more items off my New Zealand bucket list. Joe and I returned to the South Island in the company of my cousin/former San Diego roomie Ashley and her husband Jeff.
We began our journey in Christchurch. Although we were just passing through, I wanted to visit the site of the 2011 earthquake.
While much of the city still looks like a construction site, it's exciting to see signs of rebirth in Christchurch.
At the airport I discovered interesting art installations and saw a few of the colorful giraffes that are popping up around the city, as part of the 'Christchurch Stands Tall' campaign.
After leaving the airport, it didn't take long for us to stumble upon the site of the Christchurch Cathedral, which partially collapsed in the 2011 earthquake. As I watched pigeons perched along the rafters I was filled with a bit of sadness. It's tragic to see this beautiful piece of architecture in ruins.
Juxtaposed with the ruins is a beautiful structure with flowers and foliage sprouting from its roof-line, which is reminiscent of a marae, a sacred Maori meeting space.
The square is filled with more colorful giraffes and even the fencing surrounding the construction site is woven with bright blocks and patterns, giving me a sense of hope of what's to come.
Having lived through Hurricane Katrina and witnessing the explosion of pride and culture in New Orleans post-Katrina, I have no doubt that in a few years Christchurch will be a cool and eclectic city exploding with new life.