I was amongst the first groups of people to walk to what we once knew as our Cathedral Square.
I wanted to see the wreckage of the Cathedral for myself, it being the centre-piece of the city where I have spent most of my 68 years. It also featured prominently in out tram drivers’ spiel. It was the best-known symbol of our city, along with the heritage trams.
A Cathedral staff member once told me an overseas visitor had said to him, ‘This is a church for all people.’ An excellent compliment indeed.
Walking into the Square for the first time since the February 22 earthquake was a sombre experience. The Christchurch Cathedral had been a monument to permanence. How could it have been struck with such vengeance by an earthquake? I looked at the grim broken tower, thinking about times I had climbed to the balconies on the spire to photograph the central city and our trams, appearing like mechanical snails. It was always a scary experience climbing the top steps on an eerie wood ladder. I peered from the top with trepidation, feeling a tad braver concentrating on my photography. Luckily no-one was up there when it toppled in February.
Keen to get a graphic photograph of the wrecked Cathedral I was lucky to have a mission to dominate my emotions. The organisers of the walk though had had the good sense to place a waist-high fence along the Cathedral frontage, making it ideal for viewing and photography.
Eventually I walked back to the container city mall. It was time for coffee, to review my digital images, and set emotions towards a future city which will once again be a magnet for visitors – and a new brilliant, stronger, Christchurch Cathedral and our colourful heritage tramcars being key components of the new future.