Sunday, October 30, 2011

Life Returns to the Former Red Zone

After eight months of post-quake remediation, a section of the city's red exclusion zone opens for shoppers. Temporary shops in shipping containers form a pop-up mall, relieving the raw scars of demolition.

Any misgivings about returning to the shattered city are forgotten in the gorgeous spring weather.

An estimated 10,000 take the opportunity to reclaim their lost city.

Almost like it used to be, only the $2 shops seem to be missing.
In the distance the hopelessly damaged Hotel Grand Chancellor awaits the high-rise wrecking ball.

Good to be back. Having a coffee in the city is like pinching yourself to make sure that you're not dreaming, only much more fun.

Once the city's premier riverside cafe strip, Oxford Terrace is still undergoing demolition.

Prime Minister John Key proudly displays his rugby world cup lapel badge as he mixes with the crowd after declaring the mall open. A hapless security operative grimly shields Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee from the PM's radiance.

"It's alright kids, he's just a big softy".
The Prime Minister reassures children that he has Brownlee totally under control, while the Earthquake Recovery Minister encourages a seagull to head over to one of the remaining orange zones if it wants to pull that sort of nonsense.

TV One's Charlotte Bellis and crew on the job.

Mayor and media veteran Bob Parker in his element.

It takes a real media professional to remain unmoved by the mayoral smile.

A chance for a closer look into the remaining red exclusion zone.

Even the advertising appears to mimic people's hunger for a glimpse of their city's lost heart.

Inside the nearby Tap Room things remain eerily frozen in time since the earthquake of February 22nd.

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