The loss of life and injury to so many people is the greatest tragedy of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch on 22 February. Just one week on and rescue and recovery work is continuing as Christchurch—and the country—face the difficult prospect of saying farewell to those who lost their lives. The grieving process will continue for some time before more thought is given to how Christchurch can rebuild, repair and restore what nature has left behind.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) extends its deepest sympathy to families, friends and colleagues who lost loved ones and whose lives have been turned upside down through damage to their homes and businesses.
This organisation is committed to working with Civil Defence, emergency services, the Christchurch City Council and government agencies in any capacity to help the city recover.
NZHPT chief executive Bruce Chapman (pictured) met with staff in Christchurch last week and began assessing the damage to heritage buildings. NZHPT staff are already working inside the cordon with Christchurch City Council colleagues, assessing buildings and providing advice.
“This earthquake is a totally different situation to that of both 4 September and Boxing Day last year,” says Chapman.
“The NZHPT is undertaking an assessment of damage, prioritising registered and scheduled buildings and endeavouring to save the iconic buildings where they can be re-built. This work is being done in close consultation with the Council and other agencies involved in the longer-term earthquake recovery work.
“As we did following the 4 September earthquake last year,
we are making contact with owners to offer advice, information and
support. “There is no easy answer to whether Christchurch can rebuild its
damaged historic buildings. Once the full extent of damage is known then
discussions can begin on how Christchurch can rebuild, what buildings it can retain
and the costs involved.”
Timeball Station extensively damaged
The NZHPT-managed property Timeball Station in Lyttelton is among those heritage buildings that sustained extensive damage in last week’s earthquake. Thankfully no one was on site at the time and so there were no injuries or loss of life. We will keep you informed about this historic building.
Other heritage buildings severely damaged include the Christ Church in Cathedral Square, the Provincial Chambers, The Press Building, the Arts Centre and the Basilica.
“These buildings are much-loved, iconic landmarks that have helped tell Christchurch’s story and have made the city the special place that it is and what locals and visitors readily identify with,” says Chapman.