earthquake proof

How are you doing, Christchurch? Every day I hear of more damage suffered in last Saturday’s earthquake. Today it’s been announced that two heritage buildings that will have to be demolished.

Luckily there were only two fatalities, but the loss of your home, or the ruination of a business you’ve worked hard in for years, is devastating too. Here’s hoping it won’t take too long to rebuild and recover.

Thank you to everyone out of the country who got in touch to check on us Aucklanders. As you’ll see from the map above, we’re a long way from the quake zone, although we could get shaky here, too, given half a chance. The distance is about the same as Los Angeles to San Francisco.

My ancestors arrived in Christchurch from England in 1850, which makes me a 6th generation South Islander. I was born and grew up there. As a child I was proud of the beautiful old buildings. They made Christchurch seem grander than it actually was, and just like places in the England of the postcards. It made us feel connected to the old country, which is just what our forebears intended, I’m sure.

My neighborhood in Auckland has streets full of lovely old villas, built in the early 1900’s. They are pure colonial style.

Seeking inspiration for lace patterns, I went photographing the fret work on some of them last week. But it was the front doors that spoke to me. Some are begging to be excused for their ramshackle appearance, hinting that it’s just a matter of time and money before they get a facelift. Others, turning up their noses at the rest of the street, are telling you that they’ve got their act together even if no one else does. One has a fly screen, something not often seen in these parts. It must have been put there by an American! My own American bemoans the lack of screens once the bugs descend in summer.

It’s remarkable that these mostly wooden house are still standing after more than a hundred years. I hope they’re around for many more.

ps. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions on the snail problem. Beer did the trick!

2 Responses to “earthquake proof”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Mel I love the photos of all the doors. Poor Christchurch.. :(

  2. Leticia Cardoso Says:

    Hi, Mel,
    I used to shop at your Wildfiber store in Santa Monica and my husband and I spent our honeymoon in 2006 in NZ, and fell in love with your wonderful country (I’ve emailed you before about it :). Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures of the doors, I fell in love with the NZ villas when I was there, and even bought a book about their history. We also visited Christchurch, so we are saddened by the earthquake and all of the destructino that it caused upon such a lovely city–I hope they recover soon. We sympathize especially since we also live in earthquake country, as you know!

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