Christchurch might be dubbed the ‘pop-up’ city. We began with the hugely successful pop-up shopping mall utilising humble shipping containers. Although a temporary compromise, it is working so well and I am stunned by the enthusiasm of many working there. Colin Johnson in his improvised container grocery continues to do a roaring trade. The pop-up mall is a fitting conclusion to our Welcome Aboard half-day Grand Tour.
But as far as ‘pop-up’ goes I thought I had seen it all. Then I discovered ‘pop-up’ floral art. Unbelievable. Established in nine garden shed-like structures, ‘pop-up’ floral art is one of the colourful exhibits in this year’s Christchurch Festival of Flowers running until March 4. www.festivalofflowers.co.nz
Demonstrating amazing skills in flower arranging, the exhibition can be seen in the Botanic Gardens near the World Peace Bell. Don’t miss it. I found humour there too. Floral artists amusingly create works around earthquake rubble. Another is set up in a miniature Challis. (The original Neil Dawson sculpture still bravely stands in Cathedral Square.) On the glorious afternoon of my ‘pop-up’ floral visit it was great to see wheel chair-bound patients from the nearby Christchurch Hospital being wheeled by caregivers amongst the displays.
Later, walking across the footbridge to retrieve my two-wheeled steed, I was delighted to see the wealth of splashing activity on the Avon River – kayaks and other hire craft vying for river space along with our Welcome Aboard punts. It occurred to me Christchurch is also the ‘schizophrenic’ city. Much of the city is earthquake wreckage yet a big slice carries on as if no disaster happened a year ago. Perhaps that’s encouraging? And events bravely carry on. I felt a twinge of regret when I recalled how our city trams were typically decorated for the festival of flowers. Maybe the trams will pop-up to be integral to next year’s festival? Will we call it the ‘Pop-up’ Tramway?