Cafe talk this week was all about the subtle and not-so-subtle changes in Christchurch over the last year or so and the many cracks that are starting to appear in the lives of many ratepayers and residents of the Garden City.

So far only a handful of flat-white drinkers have said nice things about the insurance companies while the majority are pissed-off and stressed.

One canny small trader who was trained at one of the famous Maggoty Meat Markets in Dunedin got so pissed off with their fucking him about over replacing like for like in his damaged home that he started shouting at them – they wanted to replace a nice sandstone fireplace with a plasterboard one - he is happy with his settlement now!!! It was quick too, only two years!

This stress is also shown by the rise in God Bothering, going to church for those faithful readers among you, with a noticeable increase in those attending services in Christchurch even though around two cathedrals and 14 churches of various denominations have been squished or closed by the quakes.

Another sign is the increase in the number of quake city residents attending budgeting services, services hard-hit themselves by a drop-off in volunteer helpers.

The most telling signal of the stress and one that any resident or visitor to Quake Ville can see for themselves, is the lack of smiles on the faces of Christchurch residents. One former Christchurch resident who moved overseas before the earthquakes and who has returned since said it was most noticeable, no smiles and all grim faces, whereas before it was all smiles.

Perhaps ALL Christchurch needs a smile day??

So make a New Year’s Resolution to smile more in 2013!




A dark tunnel for New Zealand Rail?

The development of the railways was one of the corner-stones of the Industrial Revolution. Railways were also one of the corner-stones of the development of New Zealand and the news that one of the more famous New Zealand trains, the Coastal Express between Christchurch and Picton, could be chopped, plus the upcoming marriage of a niece in Wellington, got me thinking – a train trip to the wedding and to visit a friend in Palmerston North.

But wait, there could be light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Giovanni.

It’s more than forty-years since a similar trip to Picton and Wellington and boy have things changed.

Closed for passengers?? Not if Giovanni has his way!


Trouble was getting a ticket. In the old days you just turned up at the station and bought one – not now:

Monday: tried to book one on-line - gave up after numerous attempts.

Tuesday:  rang the booking/call centre in Wellington – gave up after numerous attempts by the helpful woman at the other end. Try the Christchurch station office she said.

Wednesday: Visit the Christchurch station office, but it is closed (3.30pm) so a panic phone call to the office after returning home unearths a very helpful fellow named Giovanni – I’ll fix it he says and booked the train the ferry too, just pay tomorrow when you pick up your ticket.

Thursday: 6.30am. finally get hands on ticket and board the train – thanks Giovanni!

7am. Wow! What a plush and comfortable seat in a flash carriage. The train quietly and smoothly glides off.

7.20am. Rangiora – now this is the way to travel ‘tween the city centre and outer suburbs on a rail line! No traffic, no idiots, no waiting, just the views and a scan of the day’s The Press as the Coastal Pacific quietly rolls through the suburbs.

The open-air viewing carriage.

7.30am on: That was it all the way to Picton, great views, super luxurious carriages, espresso and sandwiches, not the dimly remembered rush for the cafeteria with its chunky sandwiches and clunky cups and saucers, though I did buy a meat pie for old times sake!

A sea view south of Kaikoura.


Sheep grazing in North Canterbury.

The sad thing is that this train could be in for the chop. A decline in passengers, especially since the earthquakes, makes it un-economical – there were only 52 on board that Thursday, the most since the quakes according to the Conductor. The train can carry sixty passengers in each carriage with a 120 taking the train today (27/12/2012) and the same number coming back tomorrow!

The seaward Kaikoura mountains.

Dozed on the ferry from Picton to Wellington, but the train from Welly to Palmerston North was like something out of the past, something you’d rather forget.

A knowledgeable former railway worker told me the carriages of the Coastal Express were the last made at the Hillside Railway Workshops in Dunedin, while those used from Wellington to Palmy were probably made there in the 1950’s though they have been updated. They felt and sounded like it – more rattles and rolls than a Morris Minor.

One of the two Hall's Transport semi's we diced with along the Kaikoura highway. The train won!



25/12/2012: HAPPY CHRISTMAS ALL...

And for those of you living in Christchurch, be nice to the road cones!


21/12/2012: Slowly but surely it is getting into gear. What you ask? The great Sydenham clean-up of the former New Zealand Railways goods shed at Cass Street.

There is around 27,000 tonnes of quake rubble inside and more outside all to be sorted and removed.

Once some of these interior heaps are reduced the plan is to bring the unsightly rubble outside inside to get processed.

Read what the nation's top newspaper says.

Here’s tidbit from our knowledgeable local: The 40 railway workers that once worked at the Cass Street goods B shed used to drink at the Club Hotel in Sydenham or the Railway Hotel on Manchester Street Alas only the Club is still operating. Around 232 workers were employed in the four New Zealand Railways goods sheds but only B and D, in Woolston, survive.

Read about the pubs.



19/12/2012: A uniquely Christchurch take on open air theatres after 10,000 plus earthquakes - any idea where this central city view is??

Cfish to the first correct answer!



15/12/2012: A sign next to the Heathcote River in Christchurch.

With much of the sewerage system damaged by the earthqukes and under repair many of the city's waterways have become as polluted as those with a more rural outlook. Wonder if anyone told the ducks and the City Care slaves seen paddling in the river a few days ago??


14/12/2012: Wow, five correct answers in less than an hour!

That's great, but the sad thing was that ALL came from former Christchurch residents living elsewhere.

Well done Jono, your chocolate fish is on its way in this suitable vehicle, to you in Queenstown!

The correct answer is, Verkerks Butchery. Read and see more at: WhatWasHere!



13/12/2012: A new game is being played in Christchurch’s former central city, it is called What Stood Here (WHASH!) and it is proving popular with visitors and tourists to Quake City.

However, locals are not too enamoured of the game with many not bothered to visit the former Central Business District at all, just wanting to get on with their lives.

Your task, dear reader, is to figure out what once stood here!

First correct answer gets a jumbo cfish (a large chocolate fish for you overseas types). To assist you, that is Manchester Street on the left.


12/12/2012: There are 24 approved demolition storage/consolidation sites round Christchurch, this one, alongside the former railway goods shed at Cass Street in Sydenham is not. It is illegal.

The earthquake rubble and leftovers have been dumped here so long that the heap is growing!!

I wonder if a certain gentleman’s stack of cash is growing too? Alas the man is no longer with us, he now resides somewhere in the United Kingdom, but estimates of his income hover in the millions. It is rumoured that truckies paid wads of cash to dump their loads?

Viewers of the eyesore and nearby residents and business folks wonder if it will take millions of dollars, and years, to remove or are authorities awaiting the extradition of the Rubbish Millionaire?



11/12/2012: And now for a laugh!

Here is an example of the pretentious management-speak drivel that passes for communication in certain businesses and departments of our elected and non-elected bureaucracies – giggle-on.

“Manager Transport Officers

(Regional Operations Advisor)

As the Access and Use, Manager Transport Officers, (Regional Operations Advisor), you will work closely with the Regional Manager as part of a leadership team undertaking operational and business activities and assist with the daily management of the regional business such as business planning, forecasting, measuring and reporting. To achieve this you will work collegially and co-operatively with the other Manager Transport Officers (MTO), the Regional Intelligence Officer and our Safety Programme Coordinator to ensure operational activities are coordinated, aligned, evidence-based and consistently delivered to target risk. You will assist to coordinate these plans with other stakeholders. You will also coordinate and act as point of contact for Driver Licensing Course Providers and Driver Testing for the Southern region.”

This was published by NZ Transport Agency in Saturday’s The Press. Can anybody translate it into clear, concise and punctuated English? Have a look in the NZTA Careers Centre for more:

Perhaps Hekia and the Ministry of Elucidation and Silly Walks are not alone in the unctuous snake-oil market??

Here's a containment vessel for drivel - no Rob, that does NOT mean all the postings on this site!



8/12/2012: Was this insured?

Café talk this week was not about summer, the coming holidays or, even Christchurch’s unusual style of local government, but how to survive another big earthquake and dealing with fuck-wit insurance companies.

Earthquake preparations ranged from filling the electric jug with water after each brew-up to stacking truckloads of firewood and keeping a supply of water, diesel and LPG on hand. One enterprising home-owner has even drilled a well, while others have fitted “illegal” log-burners and long-drops in their backyards (A long-drop for you overseas readers, is deep hole dug in the ground as an outdoor toilet when the sewer lines are munted – damaged and not working in Quake City language)..All have a gas burner/cooker of some description and a battery-powered radio – just in case.

Or this?

Dealing with insurance companies ranged from people gathering together to pursue legal action, to many doing away with earthquake insurance altogether. Many houses and buildings have no earthquake insurance at all as owners have seen premiums rise from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. One business-owner’s excess rocketed from $1000 to $26,000 while some large building owners say premiums rose from $25,000 to $220,000! It seems many businesses, schools and homeowners cannot afford these prices and are un-insured – scary!



7/12/2012: The Christchurch City Council's City Care 'branch' will be for ever more known for their GARDENING IN THE RED ZONE escapade, at least among those who survived the Earthquakes and read the nation's top newspaper, but they also do good work as these pix show.

City Care workers clean the weed from the bed of the Heathcote River near Waltham Road earlier this week.

They also recovered other junk dumped in the river by idiots and half-wits too stupid to dispose of it in the accepted way – to the dump.


The weed will be used to make compost.

Our former railway worker, whose identity will be kept secret, has numerous amazing, if slightly risque, stories about New Zealand railways.

Did you know that when they employed women loco drivers and assistants they had to stop the locomotives for toilet breaks as the men could stand and pee from the footplate while the train was moving, unlike the women who found it difficult!

Choo choo for now.





Chatted to half-a-dozen New Brighton locals on Sunday at the Bare Bums protest, all were horrified at what the once popular sea-side suburb had turned into since the 2011 Earthquakes.

Would you live next to this?

One prescient resident commented that New Brighton was never ‘part’ of Christchurch and reckons the current predicament of the beach suburb shows that.

For example, the graffiti scarred war memorial on the New Brighton beach-front. If that had been elsewhere in the country there would be outrage and a media symphony like the recent defacement of Jewish grave stones in Auckland or the national war memorial in Wellington, but New Brighton – nothing!

Read more about the war memorial at: New Brighton Memorial. The swastika ravaged Auckland Graves. Or National War Memorial.



4/12/2012: Thanks Don for pointing out that the Vulcan railcar carrying bundles of The Press went west, not north as I wrote.

Our talkative local, who joined the Railways in the 1950’s, says that the lift in the old railway station proved popular among certain folks. It could be stopped between floors for a bit of you-know-what!

Talking of sex, he also remembers the angst and aggressive actions of the railway workers union when the first two women shunters were employed. Unions are a bit different now he concedes.



GONE TOMORROW! (well, Sunday) Like much of our city.

See post of 23/11/2012 for details about this Opawa house.



2/12/2012: Bared bums were aimed towards Christchurch.



The unusual protest by residents of the beach-side suburb is to attract the attention of the Christchurch City Council, Sarah (Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority, and Minister Gerry Brownlee to the, seemingly, abandoned Eastern suburbs.

Read more in the nation's top newspaper: THE PRESS.


For those feeling a bit delicate or too embarrassed to bare all in public, there were pictures of a bared bum!

Even a local dog turned-up covering up his usually bared bum!




1/12/2012: Rubbish and Rubble in Sydenham!

Blame this Sydenham rubbish heap on Capitalism, Market Forces, Immigration, The Christchurch City Council, the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority, the Environment Canterbury Regional Council and plain Greed and Incompetence.


Blame this Sydenham rubble on the Earthquake.


Walk, cycle or drive over the Colombo Street rail overbridge and this is what you will see ... on one side the former railway station, all gone, and the other the former railway goods shed and a heap of stinking rubbish.

Not a great view for visitors, tourists and the poor bloody locals, but who cares?

One talkative local, who joined the Railways in the 1950’s, has fond memories of the old railway station cafeteria (somewhere among that heap of rubble above). You met all sorts there he enthused, all the bigwigs and politicians as they grabbed a quick cuppa before boarding the express south – this was before the impact of airlines and flying and the inter-island ferry and rail were transport kings.

Even the nation's top newspaper was beholden to rail. NZ Rail had a press train, our chatty local adds, a Vulcan 45-seat railcar used to leave the Christchurch central station round 2am in the morning heading for the West Coast and dropping of bundles of The Press on the way. One of his jobs, early in his career, was to visit The Press’s printing plant (all gone now like the railway station) in Gloucester Street every now and then to weigh bundles of newspaper so they could work out the freight charges they exacted from The Press.

Choo choo for now!


30/11/2012: You gotta hand it to the little fuckers - five storeys aboveColombo Street!

Gotcha! - The former Work and Income New Zealand building in Sydenham. The abandoned building, on Colombo Street, which is locked and surrounded by security fencing, has been tagged from top to toe.

Some Sydenham business owners are so pissed-off about the tagging of their buildings that they have resorted to video surveillance and, in one case, a sprinkler system! There is even talk of vigilantism where properties in Linwood and St Martins have been visited by irate owners and summary justice allegedly meted out! Almost as exciting as the alleged treatment of looters in New Brighton after the February 2011 Earthquake and aftershocks - see earlier pix and postings!

Read what the Police are doing about tagging: in THE PRESS the nation's top newspaper.



29/11/2012: A bridge over troubled waters?

A new footbridge over the Heathcote River between Eastern Terrace and Palatine Terrace, foreground, by Fisher Avenue in Beckenham.


While many in Christchurch gnash their teeth in frustration, partake in meaning-less marches and even bare their bums out of spite some just get on with it as this shot shows.

It’s 7.30pm last night and the workers are still slaving away – well done chaps!


The Bare Your Bum protest is at 11am this Sunday, December 2, on the basketball court at New Brighton beach, but please, please wipe your arses first!


24/11/2012: They do things differently in Palmerston North....

They dress their statues.

Yes I know there is a lamp sticking out from Charlie's right shoulder, but that's to highlight the new thugby rule of no shoulder charging - carry a lance instead! Read about another RUGBY STADIUM FOR SALE. And they want to build a grandiose new fellow in Christchurch?!


Grow rhubarb and other vegetables in the city centre.

The tables belong to Cafe Tomato, on George Street, but locals can use them to sit and graze. Oops, I mean gaze.


Sexually tease protected species and pensioners.


They are also aggressive towards cyclists, as one large, very large, woman demonstrated when she tried to scramble through the window of her sports utility vehicle to verbally attack the poor cyclist she’d nearly squished just behind where this colourful VW is parked. She drove off screaming she would lay a complaint with the Police, but only the cyclist has done so.

For more about Palmerston North see posting of 20/9/2012.



23/11/2012:  REST IN PEACE.

Born 1929 died 2012 - A Home in the leafy Christchurch suburb of Opawa.


No fancy mechanical knock-it-downs for this demolition near the Heathcote River this morning, just good old human muscle wielding a sledgehammer and sending the rubble flying.


It’s one of the safest ways says boss Hayden, who has demolished many houses and buildings in our earthquake ravaged city. The oldest, a Lyttleton building, built in 1860.



22/11/2012: Will this abandoned till every ring again??

It looks like the Obesity Police have struck says Keith. The Bridge Street Café you were ranting about in the previous posting has closed.

In fact the whole single-storey complex on the corner of Bridge Street and Estuary Road is shut (Map here).

Here’s the official version according to Sarah.

But suspicious locals believe there’s a bit of flummery and scammery involved since the wee shopping complex managed to survive nearly 11,000 earthquakes and still serve the local residents.

Now the pissed-off residents and business people in the beachside suburb are going to bare their arses in protest over what is happening and not happening in the popular summer playground of Christchurch.

Read about the bare bums here in the nation's top newspaper: THE PRESS.

Oh, the Jungle Patrol cafe on Oram Avenue is still open as is the Opawa Cafe!!


21/11/2012: Obesity. It’s the new “in” for the bureaucrats and health freaks. Like the recent anti-smoking and anti-drinking campaigns of which the druggies and drinkers took little notice, other than growing or brewing their own.

But would that be the same for the obese waddling round our malls and hospitals when the proposed anti-obese programme is rolled out?

What, you have not heard of Tariana Turia and the THE MAORI PARTY'S latest proposal?

It could be proposed that fatties and other over-weights, just like this poor truckie, ABOVE, captured near Brougham Street in Christchurch recently, will have to face the scales. Too heavy and it is off to the cells with you for a quick diet, while if you pass you get to chomp on fruit and raw vegetables – oh what a riot would ensue when all the packaging is faceless and the food kept behind closed doors!!

A meat pie sir?
Sorry you have to describe the one you want as there are dozens of them.
No, I cannot show you them, it is unlawful for me to do so. I could be dragged away to face Hekia Parata.

Now the Bridge Street Café in South Brighton do a tasty lambs-fry and bacon pie and the Opawa Café do a yummy apple cake. See you there!



8/11/2012: Thank you Greg, yes the pix on this site are mostly about what is happening in Quake City, but if you read the above it gives the reason why.

Now, just for you, the way it was:

Remember this? The former mall between High Street and the River Avon.


Or this? The Wizard of Christchurch's car parked in the Square next to the cathedral.


The Wizard himself! Facing up Worcester Street.



5/11/2012: John Key and certain of his minions are in deep shit among Christchurch coffee society. First, Hekia Parata over the Christchurch Schools’ debacle (see earlier postings), then Gerry Brownlee over Pommie input for the Christchurch re-build (read about that in the nation’s top newspaper: THE PRESS) and the now infamous batshit comment the Prime Minister is alleged to have made about David Beckham, (read about THAT at: more at THE PRESS.)

Not that Prime Minister Key is afraid of standing upon dung and rubbish from the 1960's and 70's, as captured by this pix.

The photo shows him, left, and other recognisable folks, standing on the former city council rubbish dump at Bexley just after the 2011 February earthquake, when he helicoptered in to see the trauma and damage for himself.

For overseas readers, his leadership emerged with a bit of gloss then, but will it survive now?? Can he re-build like quake flattened Christchurch?

And don’t think there was no crap dumped at Bexley in the badly damaged eastern marches – there was - thousands of shitty nappies, even medical waste such as used syringes. There was no re-cycling in those days, when the dump was operating, as there is today!



3/11/2012: From this:

To this:

The Cranmer Centre is gone! Read about the heritage building here: HISTORY OF THE CRANMER CENTRE! Then read what one of the owners said about its demise, in the nation's top newspaper THE PRESS!


But this is going up mearby - the underground parking for the new six-storey office building being built on the corner of Peterborough Street and Victoria Street.

Wonder what will rise from the rubble of the centre?



1/11/2012: A tunnel burrows beneath the railway yards in Waltham and has done for many years.

A Connectics worker surfaces in Falsgrave Street after an underground hike from Mowbray Street.

In fact one talkative local, who joined the New Zealand Railways in the 1950’s, recalls having to cycle from the central railway station on Moorhouse Avenue to close the gates at either end of the tunnel between Mowbray Street and Falsgrave Street, near Lancaster Park, at 6pm each night.

The tunnel, undamaged but a tad dark, damp and begrimed with graffiti is still there, but Orion made their own, a tiny one, to carry a bloody long power cable.

All this.


Goes in here.


And is yanked by this monster.


To come out here!



26/10/2012: The varied faces of fencing - no names will be mentioned to protect the innocent.



1 Lisa Goral, Dunedin. 2 Carla Campbell, Christchurch.  3=  Felicity Boyd, Christchurch and Grace Christie, Hamilton. 5 Shauni Phippen, Wellington.

Luke Roberston, left, and Bryan Clark enthralled the spectators with the action in their quarter-final bout in the mens sabre.

1 Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 2 Luke Robertson, Christchurch. 3= Bryan Clark and Alex Thomas, both Wellington. 5 Garth Shillito, Auckland. 6 Jaco Fourie, Christchurch. 7 Felix Boyce, Wellington. 8 Rob Blackburne, Christchurch. 9 Vik Manuge, Christchurch. 10 Adam Burrough. 11, Jonathan Gerry, Christchurch. 12 Ross Shepherd, Christchurch. 13 Peter Campbell, Christchurch.

1 Sheryl Fan, Auckland. 2 Wai-ling Chan, Christchurch. 3= Grace Christie, Hamilton, and Charlotte Dewsnap Wellington. 5 Laura Bythell, Christchurch. 6 Whittington, Wellington. 7 Rosie Graham, Wellington, 8 Felicity Boyd, Christchurch. 9 Stephanie Wylie, Auckland.

1 Kyle Macdonald, Auckland. 2 Mark Rance, Christchurch. 3= Rob Blackburne, Christchurch and Paul Hentschel, Wellington. 5 Isaac Officer, Christchurch. 6 Felix Boyce, Wellington. 7 Bevan Dobbs, Auckland. 8 Corwin Wallens, Wellington. 9 William Bishop, Wellington. 10 Xavier Watts, Wellington. 11 Andreas Sesun, Christchurch. 12 Lucian Nightingale, Christchurch. 13 Oliver Agnew, Auckland. 14 John Byron, Dunedin. 15 Jonathan Anderson, Christchurch. 16 Brad Grainger, Christchurch. 17 Graham Payne, Timaru. 18 Alex Thomas, Wellington. 19 Steve Fish, Timaru. 20 Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 21 Bryan Clark, Wellington. 22 Adrian Saw, Wellington. 23 Jaco Fourie, Christchurch. 24 Michael Claydon, Christchurch. 25 Joe Pearson, Auckland. 26 Sheldon Ogilvie, Christchurch. 27 Tom Kent, Christchurch. 28 David Jennings, Dunedin. 29 Quin Downs, Christchurch. 30 Peter Campbell, Christchurch. 31 Anthony Goh, Christchurch. 32 Luke Sawyer, Christchurch. 33 Jonathan Gerry, Christchurch. 34 Joe Gorman, Christchurch. 35, Ross Shepherd, Christchurch.

1 Ping Yuan, Wellington. 2 Fiona McDonald, Dunedin. 3= Rachel Rowlands, Dunedin, and Grace Christie, Hamilton. 5 Charlotte Dewsnap, Wellington. 6 Nicola Buisman, Auckland. 7 Natalie Dunn, Auckland. 8 Stephanie Wylie, Auckland. 9 Vanda Symon, Dunedin, 10 Olive Butler, Dunedin. 11= Catherine Marshall and Elizabeth Wilson, both Christchurch. 13 Pippi Miller, Dunedin. 14 Gen Porter, Christchurch. 15 Heather Bauchop, Dunedin. 16 Jane Barrow, Auckland.17 Joanna Ututaonga.

1 Hamish Clark, Christchurch. 2 Chris Bell, Christchurch. 3= Hamish Chan, Auckland, and Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 5 Clovis Dyson, Auckland. 6 Felix Boyce, Wellington. 7 Harry Forrester, Wellington. 8 William Bishop, Wellington. 9 Daniel Garelja, Auckland. 10 Alex Thomas, Wellington. 11 Michael Aymes, Christchurch. 12 Bruce Ng, Auckland. 13 Arthur Gatland, Auckland. 14 Graham Payne, Timaru. 15 Michael Claydon, Auckland. 16 Jared Howlett, Dunedin. 17 Joe Pearson, Auckland. 18 Jason Sim, Dunedin. 19 Benjamin Krebs, Auckland. 20 Finn Butler, Dunedin. 21 Corwin Wallens, Wellington. 22 Nathanael Walker-Hale, Wellington. 23 Daniel Keleghan, Christchurch. 24 Steve Fish, Timaru. 25 Jonathan Krebs, Auckland. 26 Bryan Clark, Wellington. 27 David Solin, Dunedin. 28 Matt Lane, Christchurch. 29 Jonathan Brill, Christchurch. 30 Richard Souness, Dunedin. 31 Aaron Gyles, Christchurch.

And to finish, another action shot from today's mens sabre event - KATCHATURIAN'S SABRE DANCE!

More to come - more pix posted soon.



21/10/2012: The flags were flying in Christchurch on the second day of the National Fencing Championships with the women’s foil and men’s epee events, but the medals went north!

Wellington’s Ping Yuan won the foil and Auckland’s Kyle Macdonald the epee.

Christchurch's Mark Rance, left, fights Wellington's William Bishop in a direct elimination bout to make the top eight - Rance won.

The Champs conclude tomorrow with the men’s and women’s sabre events.


The crowd didn’t actually go wild, fencing crowds are more restrained and chivalrous than most, but they did enjoy the action at the first day of the New Zealand Fencing Championships in Christchurch today.


Christchurch’s Hamish Clarke, left, held on to his foil title after a close tussle with clubmate Chris Bell, right, while Auckland’s Sheryl Fan, below, won the womens epee. Sunday sees the mens epee and women’s foil events.




20/10/2012: The swords come out in Christchurch today, more than 200 of them!

Around 80 of the best fencers from around the country will converge on the Garden City to take part in the New Zealand National Fencing Championships at the Canterbury Table Tennis Stadium starting today.

The three-day championships will showcase the talent in the sport's three weapons of sabre, epee and foil much to the delight of Fencing New Zealand President, Ken Claridge.

Each competitor has to front up with at least two working weapons in each event so many will have four or more swords, just in case one breaks. An unlikely scenario, since the blades are made from special, tough, maraging steel. The steel was developed for the great centerfuges used in extracting uranium and generally breaks without leaving a jagged point. But, just in case, all the competitors will be wearing stab-proof clothing, which the Police and Military now use.

Now, did this duel in Hagley Park by the Canterbury Univeristy Fencing Club last Sunday, on the emergency heli-pad, to celebrate the end of the uni year, use these advanced technologies? No, but the hospital is in the background just in case!



Who will win these medals and trophys??

Christchurch’s two reigning fencing champions will face their fate this weekend. Hamish Clarke, the current foil champion and Luke Robertson the reigning sabre champion will face some tough competition this Saturday and Monday. Clarke, number one in the New Zealand foil rankings, will face a field of 28. While Robertson, ranked 7th in the sabre rankings, will have to claw his way back into contention after work and marriage arrangements cut into his training and competitive plans this year.

In the men’s epee on Sunday Christchurch’s Andreas Sesun, who is ranked second to William Bishop of Wellington in the national rankings, will have to face former champions in Kyle MacDonald, Auckland, Martin Brill. Christchurch, Graham Payne, Timaru, plus the current champion the redoubtable Paul Hentschel, Wellington.

The women’s’ events are less clear-cut with numbers down and the reigning women’s foil and epee champion, Monique Coleman, committed to her University exams. In the foil, former champion Ping Yuan, Wellington, should have a good chance of a win while the epee is not so clear with the Christchurch schoolgirl Wai-Ling Chan and former champion Sheryl Fan both with a chance.

See, the flags are out to welcome YOU?

Spectators are welcome during the three-day event at the Canterbury Table Tennis Stadium on Blenheim Road, with the men’s and women’s foil and epee on the Saturday and Sunday and the sabre on the Monday. For your convienience, a map and list of start times here: 2012 Nats Info.



17/10/2012: Some fencing news.

Christchurch foilist Olga Jeykll was the first.

To win your sport’s national championship once is great, twice in a row is good, three times in a row is exceptional and four times in succession is absolutely amazing and that’s what Christchurch fencer Luke Robertson will attempt to do at the National Fencing Championship here in Christchurch this Labour Weekend.

Could Christchurch sabreur Luke Robertson, left, be the latest?

Only four other Kiwi fencers have done it, two Christchurch fencers and two from Auckland.  First to achieve this remarkable record of four in a row was Christchurch fencer, Mrs Olga Jeykll, in 1950 to 1953, in the women’s foil event. Second was the one-armed fencer from Auckland, Brian Pickworth, in the men’s foil event. Picky, as he was commonly known, achieved an incredible five foil titles in succession starting in 1961! Then Christchurch epeeist Rangi de Abaffy won the men’s epee event four times starting in 1996. De Abaffy was also the first epeeist to win the national title three times in succession - a double feat that will never be matched. While another Auckland fencer, Jess Beer, repeated Pickworth’s feat by winning five women’s epee titles in a row starting in 1997. This means that if Robertson succeeds the nation’s second city will be one-up on the nation’s largest city, Auckland – three to two!


16/10/2012: Wot's happening in Sydenham?

There is free rubble for all!

Read about the bureaucratic dodging and ducking in the Observer over the disposal of this heap - Observer

Shame it is not a heritage building or Old Dunga as Gerry and the Wastemakers would be lapping it up.

The former Christchurch Railway Station is well on its way to oblivion.


Houses still wait to be fixed.


While this may be a sign of the future?



4/10/2012: Wot's putting the tourists off Christchurch and New Zealand?

Cost of a roof over their heads?

Tourism Jefe Tim Hunter has a few ideas he put forward in the nation’s top newspaper on Tuesday. Have a read at THE PRESS. I think he misses the real reason – New Zealand is too bloody expensive!



Shared a drug session – that’s tobacco for you fascisti - with a group of youngsters at a Dunedin Backpackers recently. (Modern drug users are now separated from the burping, dribbling and sexually inept masses in an effort to curb personal freedoms and enjoyment.)

They were in their early-twenties and hardened world travellers. One was an office worker from Brazil, Another a secondary school teacher from Ireland. There was a plumber from Alexandra, Central Otago, an electrician from near Harrowgate in England, a dairy farmer from North Otago and a doctor from Chicago in America. All, even the two Kiwis, harped on about how expensive New Zealand is compared to many other countries they had travelled through. They weren’t talking about the luxuries of life such as three-course meals, five-star accommodation or first-class travel arrangements, but the day-to-day costs. Food, tampons, cigarettes, even alcohol. All reckoned it was the biggest disincentive for younger travellers thinking about visiting Gods Own.

A quick yap around a few hardened travellers in Christchurch confirmed it. One example given, just weeks old, is the difference in the price of a chunk of  Kiwi-grown  steak in Christchurch, up to $24 a Kg, and in the Middle East, $12 or so, and that's after flying it round the world!

Things are a bit sticky for tourism.




6/10/2012: A green light for protest??

Sydenham architect Justin could have been confused by the plethora of signs surrounding the demolition of Cranmer Courts. – Opt Out, No Entry, Pay and Display Parking and, to cap it off, a Green Light! Then there were the Police.

Read about the demolition of Cranmer Courts in the nation’s top newspaper. See also Letters to the Editor for today for some reminiscences about the old stone building and former school and teachers college. THE PRESS

Who can forget the smell from the nearby pickle factory? Or stuffing up the cracks in the stone walls in winter with newspaper, to keep the cold draughts out? Or the sight of my English lecturer sitting on top of his large wooden office desk in a yoga position clad only in his underpants – memories now, just fading memories, ALL GONE like most of central Christchurch.


4/10/3012: Architect halts demolition!

A Sydenham architect brings the demolition of the histroric Cranmer Courts to a dead stop this morning by sitting on a pile of rubble (circled).

The deomolition jockies had to corral their knock-it-down until the man removed himself and had chatted with Police.

The man was part of a group trying to draw attention to the few remaining historic buildings and their likely fate. The group and their signs and banners drew numerous toots of solidarity from passing motorists.

Most Christchurch residents are sickened by the wholesale demolition of historic and significant buildings in the earthquake damaged city and fear the Central Business District will become a vast desert of tilt slab buildings and an unwanted roofed thugby arena and convention centre.


31/9/2012: A question: Who won the Christchurch Swords Club's President's Cup in 1931. Answer: G H Mirams.

29/9/2012: Wow, the former university bookshop is still there on Montreal Street so why leave Christchurch?

The Christchurch Central Business District is gone and it won't be back regardless of what the Christchurch City Council, Sayrah (Cera), Seedo (Ccdu) and Jerry Brownlee think, at least not in a way that most residents of Quake City will recognise. So where are the 50,000 dispossessed workers and residents going - the suburbs!!

Alfreso dining in Woolston.


New mall under (re)-construction in Woolston.

More about WOOLSTON for out-of-town readers!

Hard at work in Woolston!

People could, horrors, move to the countryside, Though why former city folks would want to move there with its poor infrastructure, no jobs and a hell of a commute to the city if you want a job, is beyond belief.


26/9?2012: Ready for renovation! Sydenham businessman Rod Stuart’s “granny” will survive after he met Christchurch City Council workers this morning. His 160-year-old cottage at 3 Harold Street, just off Buchan Street, in the vibrant, going-ahead inner-city suburb, can be restored said city planners.

The tiny cottage survived the earthquakes, but zoning and re-build regulations could have seen it altered out of existence. Now there is  no need for a resource consent as long as he associates the cottage with his Tropicool business as a managers residence.
He will however need a building consent, but the CCC will be treating it as a renovation rather than a new build. This means he can keep the character of the building and essentially replace like for like.


25/9/2012: Tomorrow morning at 9am Rod Stuart is paying $120 an hour to meet with a Christchurch City Council worker to talk about his 160-year-old “granny”.

Imagine your favourite granny in her nineties, but still alive and kicking, and she wants you to primp her up a bit. Cut her hair, remove that cancerous growth from her forehead and get her into nice new clothes. Easy, you just do it. Get the hairdresser, the doctor and have the wife choose some nice suitable clothes for the old dear and she ready to face the world for another ninety years. NORE ABOUT SYDENHAM AND GRANNY HERE.

Rod’s “granny” is a 160-year old cottage in Sydenham that has withstood the September and February earthquakes, the thousands since (and before) plus more than a century-and-half of storms and inclement weather. Now he wants to tidy it up. Replace the odd rotting weather board, put in a new toilet and patch the roof so to speak. Easy, one would have thought, you own one of the oldest buildings in Christchurch, one that suffered no major damage in the earthquakes and you want to tidy it up, it would be easy. Not so!

First you need to seek, and pay for, an existing use certificate, perhaps the same for a resource consent, then you have to bring the old dear up to modern building standards and insert a wider evacuation shaft (fire escape) up her back passage, then insert a wheelchair-wide entrance in her mouth, then replace her hair with modern materials, but you are not allowed to remove the cancerous growth.

Sounds a bit crazy??

It’s not and that is why Rod is meeting with CCC planners tomorrow – if two council workers attend the meeting he will have to pay $240 and hour and if three or more (reinforcements?) turn up?

The Sydenham businessman bought the 160-year-old cottage at 3 Harold Street next door to his refrigeration business in Buchan Street just over a year ago but primping up the old dear has found him dealing with some Stalinist type rules and regulations.


24/9/2012: A couple of overseas readers have asked why no destruction pix lately.

Frankly I am sick of them and only visit the former Central Business District very, very occasionally now. People are still suffering and the budgeting organizations are seeing a huge increase in people in financial strife, but just for you overseas readers, here are some:

Our former railway station on the way down!


Armagh Street - see earlier postings in Archives.

More Armagh Street with the Parking Building in the background and the knock-it-downs grubbing about in the former METROPOLITAN ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT building.

And our beer - the CANTERBURY BREWERY is going too.

So raise a glass to a disappearing city!


22/9/2012: No netball at the Hagley netball courts today! “Wellington Abuse” and “The Ministry of Execution” were epithets heard at the latest gathering of the Helpless against the Hopeless at the Hagley Park netball courts this afternoon.

Perhaps the hundreds, even thousands, of people who turned up were meaning Parliament in Wellington and the Ministry of Education, but the firestorm of indignation and stress both institutions dumped on Christchurch last week has seen them renamed the ministry of execution and its staff and Parliamentarians called executioners.

Bye, bye school??

Some government departments are in the throes of teaching and encouraging their staff to use simple and clear English, for example, the word “use” instead of “utilization”, but this drive to communicate in simple everyday terms does not seem to have reached those at MOE, witness their use of the words restore, consolidate and rejuvenate. Plus their use of inaccurate information and out-of-date figures.

Thousands of the Helpless protest against the Hopeless?

The Ministry of Execution and other bureaucratic organisations, elected or unelected, could do no wrong if they follow this 2007 suggestion: “The Press Council believes that newspapers do themselves and their readers a service by owning up to mistakes, editorial slip-ups, or errors of omission. The Council is pleased to note that The Press intends to introduce such a feature.”

Perhaps this could also apply to Parliament and the Ministry of Education?

Are these anxious children?


What about these?



20/9/2012: TUATARAS are ugly looking things, but their tails make tasty eating.

Here is one called GEORGE oogling up an attractive resident of Palmerston North.

For you overseas readers, there are two Palmerstons in New Zealand. The ORIGINAL is on the Mainland near Dunedin and the upstart NEWBIE is in the North Island. Hence the moniker. The pic was provided by another attractive resident of Palmerston North, who wishes to remain anonymous, but who constantly scours the city in search of the unusual.



18/9/2012: The gate is open!

The St Martin’s New World supermarket is back in action.
It was like a happy school reunion. They came on foot, by bus and car, even with walking sticks and Zimmer-frames, but I didn’t see anyone on a bicycle. There were superseded British cars from the 1970’s, even a tiny white Fiat 500 rattled up but no cycles. There were children and octogenarians, old friends and acquaintances pushing loaded shopping trolleys chattering happily in the car parks, but no bicycles – strange?

Look closely and you might see something I didn’t ….


17/9/2012: Has someone done you a good deed lately?

No, then here’s a story that’ll make you grin and feel good. It concerns the mucky airborne mess in Christchurch generated by the earthquakes, a builder and a doctor.

The sign above the medical practice of Doctors John Dewsbury and Susan Gordon, in Opawa, was streaked and blurred from the airborne pollution but when Dr John turned up for work one morning recently it was clean and legible thanks to Chris the builder.
The grubby sign annoyed the perfectionist Chris, a patient of Dr John, so he turned out with his builder’s ladder and detergent and scrubbed it clean much to the delight of Doctor John and other business owners in the popular suburban Opawa mall.

The pix show a happy Doctor John and his not-so-happy next-door neighbour, Physio-therapist Adrian, who runs the busy little physio clinic next door. The question dear reader, is will Chris The Builder take pity on physio Adrian and scrub his sign?

More about the happy Christchurch suburb of OPAWA for you overseas readers.


16/9/2012: So near yet so far. This pleasant road along the Heathcote River, in Christchurch, survived the thousands of earthquakes but not the apparent indifference of road repairers?

One bit of it gets a nice new tar-seal patch but not the potholes
Bureaucratic meddling?
Or, just a normal event in quake city? Now, before you start a protest march - this pix was taken two weeks ago and last week the potholes were patched! But it does seem a bit strange with a load of tarseal already on site not to quickly patch a few potholes?

PS. Update to posting 29/8/2012. Lambchops has doubled in size and is happy in his new home. She who cannot be named is also doing well.

15/9/2012: Is this a crime scene?

The remains of the former Canterbury Television building after the earthquake in February 2011.

Read the story about the Canterbury Television Building in the Nation’s top newspaper: THE PRESS

Now read a definition of MURDER

Here’s another: “to spoil or mar by bad performance, representation,”

Your verdict, please.


14/9/2012: More stress for Christchurch residents.....

“Great optimism.” Gerry Brownlee balancing on this three-legged chair?

Christchurch residents have been subjected to bureaucratic incompetence, lack of compassion, poor communication, complete indifference, or what-ever you call it, over the last couple of years, but yesterday’s announcement on the future of many of Quake City’s schools is the hum-dinger of all fuck-ups, to put it mildly.

It has put paid to National Party support in the city, wiped out any respect for the Education department, but not only that, it made idiots of those fronting the event. It was a shambles and needlessly heaped further stress on a city already stressed out by the Great Earthquakes. If the citizens of Christchurch needed another example of the lack of compassion and sensitivity by our elected Government and un-elected bureaucrats, this was it – a six, at least, on the stress index, perhaps more.

And things seemed to be getting along quietly too with the protagonists in the Thugby Roof and Cricket Grab all keeping a low profile.

The nation’s top newspaper, The Press, covered the event.Read Hekia Parata’s view: THE PRESS

And now views of school principals and others: More from THE Press.

And more here!

But before you start reading it may pay you to review the definitions of some common English words:
RESTORE: To bring back into existence or use; re-establish: restore law and order.
CONSOLODATE: To unite into one system or whole; combine: consolidated five separate agencies into a single department
REJUVINATE: To restore to a former state; make fresh or new again: to rejuvenate an old sofa.

Can this abandoned armchair be rejuvenated like many Christchurch schools?

Here’s what the NEW ZEALAND HERALD, Granny Herald in Auckland to overseas readers, says:

And even the OTAGO DAILY TIMES, or Odious Daily Twaddle to current or former residents of Dunedin, had to say:


13/9/2012: Things have quietened down over the new roofed thugby ground and up-market cricket oval. Here, work goes ahead on the oval...proposedground

While Lancaster Park, the former AMI Stadium for you overseas readers, moulders away.... oldground


3/9/2012: Results of the South Island Fencing Championships held in Dunedin on September 1 and 2.

Womens Foil.
1 Fiona McDonald and 2 Olive Butler, both Claymore Swords Club. 3=  Pippi Miller, Claymore Swords Club, and Jane Barrow, Auckland Swords Club. Laura Bythell, Avonside Girls High School.

Mens Foil.
1 Hamish Clarke. 2. Chris Bell, both Fencing Institute. 3= Julius Herxhoff, Fencing Institute, and Graham Payne, Timaru Swords Club. 5= William Bishop, Wellington Swords Club, and Daniel Garelja, Auckland Swords Club. 7 Benjamin Krebs, Auckland Swords Club. 8 Michael Aymes, Fencing Institute. 9 Jonathan Krebs, Auckland Swords Club. 10 Jarrod Howlett, Claymore Swords Club. 11 Jason Sim, Otago University Swords Club. 12 Richard Souness, Otago University Swords Club. 13 Oliver Jarvis, Claymore Swords Club. 14 Nick Comer, Otago University Swords Club. 15 Henry Eillis Claymore Swords Club. 16 Isaac Officer, Fencing Institute. 17 Connor Foley-Walker, Claymore Swords Club. 18 David Solin, Claymore Swords Club. 19 Jonathon Brill, Fencing Institute..

Zip it up! The sabreurs get ready to fight. si2012sabreurs

Mens Sabre.
1 Jaco Fourie, United Fencing Club. 2 Jonathon Gerry, Sabre Club. 3=Robert Blackburne and Ross Shepherd, both Sabre Club.


And the epeeists, Andreas Sesuna, left, and Mark Rance, entertain the crowd!

Mixed Epee. 1 William Bishop, Wellington Swords Club. 2 Andreas Sesun, University of Canterbury Fencing Club. 3=Xavier Watts, Wellington Swords Club and Mark Rance, Fencing Institute. 5 Brad Grainger, Fencing Institute. 6 Robert Blackburne, Sabre Club. 7 Isaac Officer, Fencing Institute. 8 John Byron, Claymore Swords Club. 9 Jaco Fourie, United Fencing Club. 10 Peter Campbell, University of Canterbury Fencing Club. 11 Mike Jameson, Claymore Swords Club. 12 Nick Comer, Otago University Swords Club. 13 David Jennings, Claymore Swords Club. 14 Jonathon Seal, Queenstown. 15 Fiona Seal, Queenstown. 16 Quin Downs, Fencing Institute. 17 Luke Sawyer, University of Canterbury Fencing Club. 18 Felicity Boyd, United Fencing Club. 19 Laura Bythell, Avonside Girls High School. 20 Alison Price, Queenstown. 20 Ross Shepherd, Sabre Club.

OLD FENCERS never give up – they only retire for a while! alison

Former Auckland fencer Alison Price, nee Swinburne, was back on the piste at the South Island Fencing Championships in Dunedin at the weekend after a “rest” of nearly 20 years. Now married and living and working in Queenstown Alison wants to continue with the ancient art and modern sport she took up so many years ago.

23/8/2012: The Red Zone in Christchurch,that’s the damaged eastern suburbs for overseas readers, has been plagued by looting, arson and squatters since February 2011’s earthquakes.

 The Press, the nation’s top newspaper, has covered the agony of zone’s residents in detail (as has this site), but some-how it all seems to lack a certain verisimilitude. You can read about that disconnect here: The Press


The facts: Two squatters are confronted by a red zone property owner. One is being removed for its own safety and the other, a recently released prisoner desperate for work and affordable accommodation, was allowed to remain. She who cannot be named was squatting in the badly damaged house when Lambchops wandered in

Question: Is there a housing shortage in Christchurch?
Answer: Could be, but if you are Gerry Brownlee and the National Party, the market will take care of it!

Is that what the pix shows?

Thank goodness Christchurch red-zoned residents have a bit of compassion and commonsense.

Lambchops is doing well as is She Who Cannot Be Named.




A question: Who won the Christchurch Swords Club's President's Cup in 1931???

A hint: it was a woman.

And now, what Arthur has been waiting for .... Pix and results of the North Island Fencing Championships held at Massey High School, Auckland, recently.

northislandfencingtrioHere some old friends meet.

Men’s Foil: 1 Clovis Dyson, France. 2 Hamish Clarke, Christchurch. 3= Daniel Garelja, Auckland, and Felix Boyce, Wellington. 5 Arthur Gatland, Auckland. 6 Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 7 Chris Bell, Christchurch. 8 Julius Herzhoff, Christchurch. 9 Matthew Hill, Auckland. 10 Michael Aymes, Dunedin. 11 Christopher Lear, Auckland. 12 Jurgens Van Zyl, Gulf Harbour. 13 Benjamin Krebs, Auckland, 14 Jonathan Krebs, Auckland. 15 Isaac Cleland. 16 Nathanael Walker-Hale, Wellington. 17 Michael Claydon, Auckland. 18 Kwok-Yi Lee, Auckland. 19 Arthur Berthier, Auckland. 20 Tony Culliford, New Plymouth. 21 Russell Johnson, Wellington. 22 Bryan Clark, Wellington. 23  Jonathan Brill, Christchurch. 24 George Strati, Wellington. 25 Taylor Nielsen, Auckland. 26 John Calcott, New Plymouth. 27 Ben Lear, Auckland. 28 James Harwood, Wellington. 29 Rex Hefferen, Auckland. 30 Joe Pearson, 31 Gabriel  Kirkwood and 32 Jack Ledbrook, all Gulf Harbour.

nifoilactionThat's Arthur on the right:

Women’s Foil: 1 Monique Coleman, Gulf Harbour. 2 Laura Harvey, Auckland. 3=  Kate Brill, Christchurch, and Daniela Ravera. 5 Vicky Fan, Auckland. 6 Stephanie Wylie, Auckland. 7 Alice Boyd, Auckland. 8 Natalie Dunn, Auckland. 9 Charlotte Dewsnap, Wellington. 10 Grace Christie, Hamilton. 11 Jane Barrow, Auckland.

Sabre (mixed): 1 Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 2 Tony Culliford, New Plymouth. 3= Taylor Nielsen and Katie Logan, both Auckland. 5 Garth Shillito, Auckland. 6 Charlotte Dewsnap, Wellington. 7 George Strati, Wellington. 8 Jaco Fourie, Christchurch. 9 Jonathan Gerry, Christchurch. 10 Kwok-Yi Lee, Auckland. 11 Bryan Clark, Wellington. 12 Reid Towers. 13 David Greig, Auckland. 14 Hamish Bulmer, Auckland. 15 Peter Campbell, Christchurch. 16 Anne Gerke, Wellington. 17 Nick Poulsen. 18 Tommy Leigh, Auckland.

NiDanceTwo epeeists do a dance. Did you know that one epee bout took nearly half-an-hour to complete?

Womens’ Epee: 1 Sheryl Fan, Auckland. 2 Kate Brill. Chrischurch. 3= Wai-Ling Chan, Christchurch, and Grace Christie, Hamilton. 5= Anna-Kathrein Muller-Bergh, Germany, and Charlotte Dewsnap, Wellington. 7 Susan Grant-Taylor, Wellington. 8 Stephanie Wylie, Auckland.

nipairJonathon Gerry and Kyle MacDonald take a break between epee bouts.

Mens’ Epee: 1 Kyle MacDonald, Auckland. 2 Andreas Sesun, Christchurch. 3= Felix Boyce, Wellington, and Martin Brill, Christchurch. 5 Arthur Berthier, Auckland. 6 Paul Hentschel, Napier. 7 Oliver Agnew, Auckland. 8 Bryan Clark, Wellington. 9 Daniel Kahu, Wellington. 10 Bevan Dobbs. 11 Lucian Nightingale, Christchurch. 12 Graham Payne, Timaru, 13 Jurgens van Zyl, Gulf Harbour. 14 Corwin Wallens. 15 Peter Campbell, Christchurch. 16 Julius Herzhoff, Christchurch. 17 Tony Culliford, New Plymouth. 18= Hamish Bulmer, Auckland, and Xavier Watts. 20 Rex Hefferen, Auckland. 21 Jonathan Gerry, Christchurch. 22 George Strati, Wellington. 23 John Calcott, New Plymouth. 24 Jaco Fourie, Christchurch.

wotasightFeel free to send your own caption - best one wins a chocolate fish!



1/6/2012: There is work to be done in Christchurch.

zigdowntooSome of the work.

An earlier posting talked about the Kiwi painter/decorator just in from Australia who negotiated a job and humongous pay rate via texting while sitting in a Sydenham café. Well here’s an even better story: A builder from the European Union steps off the plane at Christchurch International Airport walks up to a nearby building site and asks if there are any jobs going – start tomorrow was the reply!!!

comingdownMore of the work.

And here’s a story tip for the Fourth Estate who read this site, who were the brave ones that remained day in and day out, through all the aftershocks and personal travails, in the central city after February 2011”s devastating earthquake? Hint, ask Roger Sutton.

Whatever you do enjoy your winter and here's a touch of humour just for you:


2pmHowz this for a number plate?

Content prior to this is archived below.

31/5/2012: A cycle round the city (Sayrah Space) yesterday saw some things still standing despite the hungry knock-it-downs and the compasionate bureaucrats.

rubbleThe rubble piles from the now defunct Skelly Holdings smack in the middle of Sayrah Space and visible to all using the overbridge on Colombo Street in Sydenham.

edmondsbandrotundaAnd the Edmonds Band Rotunda as seen from the Manchester Street bridge in Sayrah Space in the central city.

Wouldn't it be nice if they got rid of one and kept the other!?


29/5/2012: BUS CRASH! buscrashfour

We like to nit-pick on the blundering doings of our Christchurch City Council and its inmates, but here is a positive story springing from a nasty bus crash on Richardson Terrace this morning. Read about the school bus crash in our nation’s top newspaper BUS CRASH and read the comments posted by readers.

Some suggest better signs could be a good thing as this pix shows.


Well it just happens that the CCC’s traffic department thinks so too and had a traffic engineer, in hi-vis jacket, checking signs and their visibility in the area at the time of the crash.


Talk about coincidence? What’s the bet there will be new signs soon????

Like this green one on the bus! buscrash


27/5/2012: Cones wait outside the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital.


The plastic fantastics have become part of everyday life since the September 2010 earthquake, popping up anywhere at any time and increasing the enjoyment for quake city drivers and improving their reaction times. Don't bother asking why they are lining up along a yellow no parking line!!


25/5/2012: Kneeling to pray? Kneeling to clean? toiletcathedralIt seems appropriate that on the day of the gathering in Cranmer Square to save the cathedral in central Christchurch that Rod, the curator of the Sydenham Toilet Cathedral, undertakes cleaning duties after the influx of visitors to the building.


23/5/2012: They do things differently in Christchurch.



Perhaps its the stress from the constant shaking. Perhaps it is the lack of leadership and emasculation of our elected leaders by the National Government. Perhaps it is the vapours arising from living in a swamp infecting people.


Whatever it is you have to have a laugh as you will at this Great Chook Round-up taking place on Waimari Road!

chooktooThe owner of the chooks and students from Bishop Julius residential hall at the University of Canterbury had great fun herding the itinerants home. One did manage a brief escape by flying over the stream!!


21/5/2012: Two Sydenham businessmen have got together to offer a substitute for supporters of the earthquake damaged Christchurch Cathedral now being attacked by the knock-it-downs.  

cathcross The Anglican cathedral in the Square was consecrated in 1881 after years of failure and inactivity and is once again drowning in controversy over its demolition and Garry Lovie and Rod Stuart have come up with a unique and very tongue-in-cheek alternative, a Toilet Cathedral!

cathedralthreeErected on what could be considered the oldest working toilet site in Christchurch, the pair added a substantial cross to the recently restored 160 year old toilet still connected to the city sewer system. 

cathedraltooThe Toilet Cathedral probably outdates the existing Cathedral which was started in 1864 but not consecrated for 17 years.  There is only one pew and the pair are currently seeking to run regular services for Christchurch people needing to have a chat to God. 

Rod is currently seeking resource consents from the Christchurch City Council to restore the 160 year old cottage associated with the Toilet Cathedral. 

In the meantime Rod is happy for folk to enjoy a spiritual moment at 3 Harold Street, Sydenham, – donations are welcomed as would anyone who can make heads or tails of the current consents process.



19/5/3012: Hey, look here .......................................................................... sunglassestooThe Sydenham optometrists, the site of, alleged, looting by a visiting North Island Policeman after February’s earthquake. Read the story in THE PRESS!

sunglassesoneHere Sydenham locals courier new-style sunglasses to the North Island to alleviate the shortage!



18/5/2012: Shut your damn mouth!!

Signs advocating this are appearing all over the suburb of Sydenham in the earthquake raddled city of Christchurch much to the bemusement of locals such as Coralie of Gap Fillers, one of the organisations making life more tolerable for citizens.

  1. Is it part of a programme to get people to stop moaning and bickering over the rebuilding of the shattered city?
  1. The original motto of the former Borough of Sydenham was deeds not words, so could it be a reference to that? shutyourdamnmouthtooAnd a damned appropriate one going by the readers’ response to a story in the nation’s top newspaper this morning - THE PRESS
  1. Or is it an acronym gone wrong? Shut your damn mouth is what you get when you google SYDM.
  1. Something more sinister?

Whatever the reason it has certainly attracted attention in the busy, go-ahead inner-city suburb. Visit Sydenham Quarter.

Go Sydenham!!!


17/5/2012: Thanks for your comments about yesterday’s posting. I know, it was a bit tongue in cheek: “Two Italians rescued from the Red Zone in quake torn Christchurch.....”. Bit of a cheek says Graham, but it was true!!

It’s also true that The Press is looking at moving back to the central city in the next few weeks, just as soon as they can negotiate access with Sayrah. Will there be a café to service their coffee habits??? Not Fred’s Pronto Café, he’s moved on and is working elsewhere so who is going to be the first café to open in New Regent Street?

fencinggloveHow about this story:

Most of us older types give the young folks a bit of stick as being a bit slow to use their brains, but one lad at a school I coach fencing at was quick off the mark. One of the rules is that there is no fencing without a glove to cover the sword hand, and this fellow had lost his glove so no fencing for him. Quick as an attacking sabreur (he fences foil! And those who fence sabre are generally recognised as the cream of the crop so to speak) he turned up wearing a sock! Talk about creative thinking!!



16/5/2012: Take a trip around the city within the four avenues and you will discover vast tracts of empty sections - a virtual desert - and all belonging to Sayrah, who has to come up with a plan in less than three months to rebuild and repopulate the area. Good luck to them for they are going to get criticised for whatever they come up with.


Here is a symbol of the re-build/repair. A couple of bottles of San Pellegrino fizzy water, from Bergamo in Italy, once stocked by Fred at his Pronto Café in New Regent Street for his favoured customers. The two "Italians' were liberated last week during a dramatic rescue mission to the once popular central city precinct. One of them will be kept as a memento of Fred’s Café and the other will be opened and drunk at the first café to start-up in the pedestrian friendly street!

prontooneFred's Pronto cafe.

prontotoo A view up New Regent Street towards where the old The Press building stood.

prontofourAs it once was.

prontothree Looking towards Armagh Street and the building that will go and, perhaps, will allow access to the River Avon.

prontofiveAnd as it once was.


13/5/2012: Much effort and money has beem spent in keeping the citizens of Christchurch OUT of the earthquke riven city over the last couple of years. No looters allowed except those with wings or forged passes or, even worse, with permission to work there!


Wonder what these pigeons, also known as rats with wings, are lined up for? The food in all the shops, cafes and resaurants has long broken down into compost.


They weren't there a week ago - see pix posted 5/5 - so are they roosting or waiting for something to eat?


12/5/3012: It is back again, the hoary old chestnut of the sanctity of Hagley Park.

hagleyparkHAGLEY PARK is a large area of land in central Christchurch bounded by the river Avon on one side and roads on the other boundaries. In fact roads, Harper Avenue and Riccarton Avenue, divide it into three chunks. In 1855 it was reserved for ever as a public park a bequest the citizens take seriously, if not literally.
There have been attempts over the years to use bits of the park for other uses, notably roads and car parks, but the citizens have rallied against such infiltration and abuse. Even to the extent of booting out the mayor at the time, Ron Guthrey, in 1971 when he proposed another road through the park.

Now sporting groups (read about the latest proposed land grab HERE!) among others, are trying their hands at snaffling bits of the park for their own use, no doubt hoping that the earthquakes and recovery efforts might mask their intentions – let the circuses begin! Earthquakes could not begin to equal the power of the irate burghers of Quake City!

The pic was taken on Wednesday and shows a road through the park. Well a sort of BURMA ROAD as workers clean up after various events and happenings in the park. This was written on Friday night BUT this thumping editorial was published in the nation’s top newspaper today DOOMED!


11/5/2012: Read this: PHOTOGRAPHER BASHED!

upyoutooThe rubble storage site, taken from the Colombo Street bridge, that has caused distress to Sydenham business folks and copped The Press photographer Don Scott a bloody bashing.

Police are still looking for the thug who did it, but as the sign says it appears the thug might have left the country or is in hiding.

upyouI bet this would be Don’s response!

Naturally if you have any knowlege of who the thug is then contact the Police then me!


6/5/2012: People gather for the meeting of the Helpless against the Hopeless at lunchtime.

moremarchtooREAD THIS PREVIW ny The Press.

moremarchoneShortly after taking the above pix I took this one of a busker in the Restart Mall a block away - which is the largest crowd?



5/5/2012: Pssst, don’t talk about it, but the earthquakes that have been terrorising us for the last couple of years seem to be diminishing, there were none yesterday and again, so far, today. And here is a pictorial view of what those nasty earthquakes can do:

360oneOne: Looking up Manchester Street from the intersection with Tuam Street towards Saint Asaph Street with High Street on the left and Colombo Street to the right. In the centre is one of the few building to survive in the central city while on the right are the start of the foundations for the Epic Project.

360twoTwo: More Manchester Street with the Drawing Room centre right and  a further view of the Epic Project - The Ministry of Science and Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise are working in partnership with Christchurch City Council and the private sector on the Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC) on the corner of Tuam and Manchester Streets at the edge of Christchurch’s Red Zone.

360threeThree: Looking towards Tuam Street with the old Millers department store and former Christchurch City Council offices, centre left.

360fourFour: More of Tuam and Manchester Streets and the wee shops that once inhabited the area – all gone!

360sixFive: Looking towards the former city centre and Struthers lane. Now here’s a question: in which Christchurch shop is cash not accepted, only eftpos or credit cards???

360seventhSix: More of Tuam Street with Manchester Street to the left and High Street to the right.

360eightSeven: Looking towards High Street and Alice’s Video and the wee garden that caused such a ruckus, over Gardening In The Red Zone, when CCC employees were seen doing the gardening after February’s 2011’s Earthquake, when the central city was closed down, but nobody else, workers, business owners and building owners were allowed in, other than the City Care gardeners.

360nineEight: Looking towards High Street and the remains of the former McKenzie and Willis building then the side of the white building shown in pix one.


3/5/2012: How not to finish an evening's fencing - on a stretcher!

kneesuponeEpeeist Rob dislocated his left knee during a duel at the United Fencing Club on Tuesday. It was reduced by the Ambulance Staff, second and third on the right, and he was carted off for a check-up. He's now limping about at home.!

Fencing is a very safe sport apart from sprains and strains - this is the first dislocation I've seen in forty-odd years of fencing.

Now for some brrrrrm brrrrrrms: An Austin Seven, oldcar

And a Morris Minor convertible. moggycon


2/5/2012: Smoky fry-up in Sydenham upsets locals!


A local businessman, left, heads for the smoking crematorium in Hawdon Street, Sydenham, this afternoon.

The controversial business, operated by John Guthrey, was granted non-notified consent by the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury and opened late last year in the industrial area much to the disgust of nearby business owners.


Mr Guthrey heads for the photographer: It (the body) was too big he said. We have it under control and the smoke with stop soon - it did! But not before irate locals contacted Environment Canterbury.




1/5/2012: Some of you overseas readers find it hard to believe the number of bureaucracies that have sprung up since the 2010 earthquake to control the rebuild in Christchurch. Here's a view published in the nation's top newspaper this morning: REBUILD GOING PEAR-SHAPED!

skirtpixAnd for those unbelievers, here's YOUR chance to look up a SKIRT!




30/4/2012: A shot of the Forsyth Barr building, left, up Armagh Street. armaghst2012

Café talk in Quake City is still pretty negative about the recovery effort and lack of leadership. People think Bob the Mayor (of the Christchurch City Council for you overseas readers) seems to be keeping a low profile and people worry about the emasculation of Roger Sutton (supposed leader of Sayrah) and the apparent lack of compassion and respect from Sayrah, (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority), Jerry and the Wastemakers (MP Jerry Brownlee with thanks to Jerry and the Pacemaker's HE'L NEVER WALK ALON!) and EQC (Earthquake Commission).These, along with Erni and Skirt (look em up yourselves!) have been joined by Seedo (Christchurch Development Unit,) that’s seven bureaucratic bodies involved in the recovery!! Plus input from the National Party and Parliament that’s a ginormous NINE and counting and all infected by lobby groups and individual manoeuvrings.
Imagine lining up for your morning coffee and having to:
Firstly have your identity and address verified; Second, to be strip searched to make sure you are not carrying a machine of mass demolition; Thirdly, having to wash all over to make sure you are not carrying infectious diseases; Fourthly, to apply for a coffee consent months in advance; Fifth, having to verify that you still want a coffee; Sixth, to finally order your coffee; Seventh, to pay the correct amount in a promissory note; Eighth, to provide insurance cover in case of further quakes or inadvertently swallowing the coffee in one gulp and choking to death. Ninth, having to return to the start because you were not wearing a high-vis jacket and hard-hat!!!
Then, once you’ve got your coffee, you will have to deal with the Department of Building and Housing and the Fourth Estate, (the media), and you wonder why Café Talk is so interesting!

Even the Fourth Estate is not immune to galloping gabbling and bureaucratic buggery. In last Monday’s the Press there was a story on page A4 about “Desperate Residents Burn Homes.”  It was accompanied by a map showing the spread of arsons across the quake-riven city and a chart showing the number of fires; “40 miscellaneous fires, 33 vegetation fires, 21 structure fires and 9 mobile property fires.” I always thought a tenet of good reporting, unlike public relations spin, was to make things easy for the reader to understand and absorb but the idea of being chased round the streets of Christchurch by a mobile property fire buggers belief! As one bright spartk suggested, perhaps they mean a mobile phone fire?

  • A quick phone call (land-line just in case) to the guys at the Addington Fire Station brought the hallucinatory visions crashing to earth. You won’t be chased by a mobile property fire, the fire-fighter on the other end of the phone line chuckled. That’s our reporting language for a car or vehicle fire. A structure fire is a house or building fire, vegetation is self-explanatory and miscellaneous fires are those not in the first three categories such as rubbish bin or skip fires.
  • There, that wasn’t too difficult. Now, can Fairfax train its journos and sub-editors to do that?

lancparkAbandoned by thugby players, not wanted by locals, too hard to fix, now Lancaster Park - the truck stop?


25/4/2012: It is Anzac Day here in New Zealand and Australia, a day to remember those who died in past wars - The Story Of Anzac Day - but I couldn't resist this pix of a floral tribute on the site of the former Canterbury Television building where so many died in the earthquake of February 22 2011. ctvflowers

Here's a big ask, Sandra and Ian need your help. they want your old Leggo blocks to decorate their new outdoor Coffee Zone cafe to be sited on Moorhouse Avenue.

cafemoveSeen here at their Leggo decorated Colombo Street cafe in Sydenham, which they opened in December last year, the couple are looking for more Leggo blocks to decorate their new venture which they want to have up and running by Spring. If You have some unwanted Leggo get in touch with them at: - recyling them could be worth your while!


24/4/2012: Now for some fencing news:anothersabredanceA new take on K's Sabre Dance - this great shot posted on the FIE's website.

Back in town for quick visits were former Christchurch fencer and national epee champion Willie Upritchard who visited briefly. Now living and working in London Willie came down-under for the wedding of another former Christchurch fencer and national epee champion, Andy Thompson, now living in Canberra.

Former national sabre champions Jonathan and Alex Chan were back too. Jono was resting-up after the complications of applying for a working visa in Germany and Alex was on holiday from Otago University.

Also in town was former Christchurch Boy’s High School fencer


John Foden. Now retired and living in Wellington John took fencing at the school, as part of physical education, from 1955 – 1958 and still vividly remembers the tyrannical former naval Petty Officer who coached the sport.

And don’t forget the Eccleston One Hit epee competition on Sunday, May 6th.


Run by the Canterbury University Fencing Club, the competition celebrates the work of former Nelson school teacher David Eccleston did for fencing. A former national epee champion who also fenced foil, Eccky is now retired and trout fishing takes up much of his time.

And thanks to all those who turned out for the second inter-clubs gathering for the year at the UCFC on Sunday!


22/4/2012: logousa

Fencing supplier Leon Paul is running a promotion: Leon Paul Fencing Equipment London click here to have a squizz. If you buy something do make it clear to LP you saw em here!

Now about that Lemon and Paeroa - a Kiwi LP here.



Hot air rises they say and the constant yabbering over the rebuild of the Central Business District is just floating over the heads of most Christchurch ratepayers and citizens because for the last forty years most believed the centre of Christchurch has been dying.

townhallAn unusual view of the Christchurch Town Hall.

First came the move of the University to Illam.(There are 20,000 people at Illam Uni today).

Next came the stopping of Victoria Street and the constriction of central city movement. (This cut a direct cross-city route and reduced the need for people to go to the city centre.)

zigagainThe Victoria Street road block goes!

Then came the dumbing down (redevelopment) of the Square and the removal of public transport from it which, accompanied by the rise of the Parking Nazis interested only in revenue extraction and the unrestricted development of large shopping malls, was another blow. (This further reduced the need and desire of citizens to access their city centre).

Now the Earthquake and its chaotic recovery attempts, such as the killing-off of the one-way system, the relocation of many businesses to the suburbs and the decision of many of them to rebuild in those suburbs will, in a couple of years, prove to have been the final nail in the coffin of any substantial redevelopment of the flattened city centre. And the latest 100-day prescription of Seedoo (Christchurch Central Development Unit) from the National Government and Gerry and the Wastemakers will not save it however much we, the citizens and ratepayers, want it to.

What is needed are deeds not words, as the former motto of the Borough of Sydenham stated, and that is just what is happening the old working class area turned business park. sydtoo

New buildings, both commercial and residential are going up. Business turnover is starting to recover with many small businesses noting increasing turnover. Parking is becoming a problem for the many workers flooding the suburb, but there are plans afoot to use many of the vacant sites in the CBD and bus people to work in Sydenham just as the former SuperValue supermarket in St Martins does for its customers by bussing them to the nearest SuperValue on Moorhouse Ave. In other words people are knuckling down and doing things – deeds, not words!

Cummon Seedoo, do something.

stmartinsuperDeeds not words in action at the site of the new SuperValue supermarket in St Martins.



14/4/2012: Recognise these? Buildings still standing on Cashel Street looking to Bedford Row, left to Madras Street and right to Manchester Street?


And is this the oldest dunny left in town?An outdoor convenience in Sydenham: olddunny

Could it possibly become a Heritage building? Nobody knows when the ramshackle cottage and dunny were built, but new owner Rod is determined to preserve them. So far the Heritage folk at the CCC have been supportive, but will he be allowed to by Sayrah and the City Council consents folks? Will he have to add fire escapes and wheelchair access along with other modern updates?

Keep watching this space for updates.

Another bit of excitement last week was watching a painter negotiate with a couple of Christchurch companies. Daryl, from somewhere in the North Island, had spent the last three years painting and decorating in Australia and returned to New Zealand to help with the rebuild of quake stricken Christchurch. We met him last Wednesday at the outdoor cafe in Sydenham negotiating with two local firms via text. When we arrived he had been offered $20 per hour and up to sixty hours work per week. When we left half-an-hour later he was up to $36 per hour and starting at 7.30am the next day.

Wow, from $57,000 pa to $103,000 pa!!


10/4/2012: inspectedWho has the right to declare buildings safe? CCC, Sayrah, EQC, a structural engineer or the owner?

Common sense and compassion went out the door after February’s earthquake. We saw it first in the bizarre actions of Civil Defence in the immediate aftermath when they liberated some buildings seven or eight times within days but left the Eastern Marches to fend for themselves and now with the increasingly shrill and hectoring communications from the bureaucrats at Sayrah and who will ever forget Gardening in the Red Zone with the Christchurch City Council and the gibberish and apparent favouritism at EarthQuakeCentral.

oxymoronIs this what happens when there is a lack of oxygen?

Yes, they are cheap shots at our hard-working fellows, but the disaster was just too big for us all and though everyone did their best the lack of leadership has triumphed, with the bickering at the City Council and now Gerry and the Waste-makers threatening to take over the city and the strange decisions from EQC. Combine that with the bureaucrats doing their best to make up for perceived past failings by ticking all the boxes in a system that seems to be for the protection of the bureaucrats and the organisations they work for rather than the needs and wishes of the suffering and the struggling citizens and ratepayers.

holeybridgeTwisted and holed - Avonside Drive!

This has thrown up some absurd decisions. Such as the vege grower who has to have wheelchair access and a fire escape for his tunnel house. For the non-agricultural types, a tunnel house is a line of metal hoops stuck in the ground and covered in sheet plastic. Growers use them to protect crops over the winter and which are then planted out in the spring. There is no known example of anyone being killed or injured by a tunnel house during an earthquake. The grower involved has given up and it’ll be frozen veges this Spring.

One small business owner in Sydenham applied for consent to rebuild on his flattened Colombo Street site. That’s OK said the consent folks, but we are just going to alter your plans a tad to make the façade look better – what? Now the bureaucrats have set themselves up as arbiters of taste and looks?? Dog help us – that’s another word spelt backwards, but I don’t think invoking his help is gong to save us from the absurdities witness the cathedral cacophony.

eqsign  It's what some in the Red Zone think!

Another absurdity is the letter about to go out to around 7000 commercial building owners requiring them to: “ ……. carry out a detailed structural assessment (on their buildings). Section 51 of the CERA Act provides that the Chief Executive of Cera may require the owner of a building that he considers has or may have experienced structural change in the Canterbury earthquakes to carry out a full structural survey of the building before it is re-occupied for business or accommodation.” (And if you think your building has not experienced structural change?)

“On receiving this notice, the owner, or owner’s representative, will be required to have a Chartered Profession Engineer (Structural) complete a structural engineering assessment of the building(s). Your will be requested to notify Cera that you have appointed an engineer within 10 working days.”

“Please note that if you fail to satisfy the requirements of the letter, Cera may issue a notice under section 45 of the Act restricting access to your building(s).”

thxWill Christchurch be full of signs like this when the home owners and business people leave?

Theoretically it sounds good, but the implied threat at the end adds a bit of spice, like the term, Cera Space, used by Sayrah to delineate greater Christchurch as its bailiwick, but is it realistic?

A recipient of the letter made a quick phone call to a couple of engineering companies and met with a blunt, “not doing it.” While another company suggested a wait of four to six months and a bill of around $15,000 to inspect a single storey light industrial building about the size of a house, it’s even more if it is a multi-storey building. If we take that as an average cost, then commercial building owners and the small to medium businesses that inhabit the buildings are in for a $10,000,000 drain on resources. One small business owner who owns his own is so incensed and spoke about selling up and moving to Dunedin so he can carry on his small businesses at a reasonable cost. Wonder how many more will leave?

Now the CCC, Sayrah and EQC are trying to do their best to keep citizens safe and assist them recover from the nuclear bomb of February 22, 2011, but surely some lee-way, compassion and just plain common sense is needed?

(Oh, and the pictures were all taken in the Red Zone on Easter Monday!)


5/4/2012: Some pix of the centre of Christchurch taken in the early 1970's from the top of the State Insurance (Government Life) building. They show that what was there forty-years-ago was not very interesting, but then, nor are the tilt-slab monsters which replaced them. Notice how low rise the city is in the background.

squareeightIn the centre backgound you can see the then Christchurch Drainage Board building which collapsed in February's earthquake, and to the right of it, the Edmonds band rotunda which is due for demolition.

squaresevenMoving right towards the Square with the former Masonic Hotel, front centre, and the Savoy movie theatre, right. In the background are the old MED building, left, which is still there and the Manchester Street car parking building, to come down.

squaresixA better view of the Savoy along with the Warner's Hotel the Press building (for which I still have a front door key!) all gone now, and the edge of the Christchurch Anglican Cathedral which was badly damaged and whose demolition has created a fire-storm of public reaction in the quake-riven city.

squarefourA glimpse of the Anglican Cathedral and the BNZ building both of which are coming down.

squareone Looking south: The BNZ building left, then across a busy Colombo Street and part of the then vibrant Square is the United Services Hotel and the Shand theatre which were demolished in 1990.

squarethreeLooking towardsHagley Park. In the background; the site of the new Art Gallery and the Museum on the left and the Girls High School building, Cramner Square and the old Normal school, right, with Provincial Chambers and the Armagh Steet car park in the right foreground. Most all gone!

squaretwo From left; the Armagh car park, Provincial Govt and courts buildings and the Armaght Street bridge across the Avon. Wouldn't it be great to capture the same views now!!!!

(For the stories of many of the buildings pictured have a look here: A history of Christchurch buildings.)



3/4/2012: The new carpet baggers - Painters, hammer-hands and flash cars??

Things have certainly moved on since the American Civil War when hordes of Northerners went south and took advantage of the reconstruction of the war-torn Confederate states.
The Confederates called them carpet-baggers after the bags they carried with them. WOTS A CARPETBAGGER??

Are these spanking new utes and Merivale tractors, with chic matching number plates, the symbols of a similar happening in Quake City?
Are they the face of destruction in Christchurch?
However, more important for us normal citizens, are they parking in Sayrah space or are they ripe for the plucking by the CCC's Parking Nazis??

And what about the deluge of the Painters? Have a look at this: PAINTERS WANTED! story in today’s The Press. Anybody wanting a job as a brush-hand get in touch with Mr Glass?

Now, here's a new angle on hanging about in central Christchurch



Go on. You can do it. Supply your own caption!



1/4/2012: RIP! CAMOFLAGE

Once the scene of midnight trysts, duels, drinking parties, psychedelic gatherings and many other sorts of human endeavour among them music and feasting, the Edmonds Band Rotunda has taken to camouflaging its existence in the hope that Sayrah won't set the lusting knock-it-downs upon it. As Sayrah makes clear, anything inside the fence belongs to them!


31/3/2012: A timely reminder in the nation’s top newspaper this week that the residents of New Brighton and other city sea-side suburbs would have only ten minutes warning to escape a tsumami, had many residents chortling into their coffees. After the recent events, said one who lives in Southshore, can you see us trying to evacuate over the two bridges that link the area to the rest of the city? Not very likely as these photos show.


nbcarsThis is the scene near the aptly-named Bridge Street bridge after the big shake in February 2011 - residents cars abandoned after the bridge was closed, the street flooded and they had to struggle home on foot.


nbbridgesignTheir other escape route is over the New Brighton bridge, but this elderly structure has a few problems too.


nbbridgethreeSpeed limitations.


nbbridgeA r umpled surface.


nbbridgetwoAnd a dangerous approach . . . . . but hey, you could do what some Southshore residents did when the last tsunami was predicted - order a muffin and coffee from Dave at the Jungle Patrol Cafe on Oram Avenue and watch the tsunami lap over the top of the sandhills!





26/3/2012: The knock-it-downs were loud again this morning. Their grumbling and shrieking came with the dawn - here a couple chomp away at the Christchurch Convention Centre built on the site of the former Christchurch Star newspaper.


Workers bare the innards of the Canterbury Provincial Council buildings - read more about them and other grand Christchurch buildings now no more! ALL GONE!


And here a new sewer pipe is laid in Humbolt Street, Sydenham.



25/3/2012: sayrahsign

Was showing a friend from Palmerston North around Quake City last week and we spotted this sign on a row of containers.

""Rockfall is an abrupt, downward movement of rock that detach from steep or vertical slopes or cliffs. The falling mass may bounce, break on impact, begin rolling on steeper slopes, and continue until the terrain flattens." (Definition from Sayrah's

Also spotted was the Edmonds clock tower all wrapped-up for winter (see previous post and pic). wrapped

And this fenced in statue on Manchester Street.



19/3/2012: Café talk last week was mainly about two things; workers driven from the central city using cafes as offices, and the eradication of most of the historic buildings in the central city.

But the most embarrassing thing was the memory of the chortling of a former pupil, now living and lawyering in Auckland, on how our earthquake-stricken city’s greatest hope for leadership, Roger Sutton, had been corralled and emasculated by Gerry and the Waste-makers and the National Party. Oh, those Jaffas! 

The city desperately needs a Winston Churchill, a Wallace or a Bruce or a Buck or two, Te Rangi Hiroa or Vicky will do nicely thank-you. Someone we can use and then discard when the job is done.

Talking of cafes, has anyone noticed that those who leave café doors open on cold and windy days come in two sorts, obese females or men wearing hi-viz jackets? This is not just my own observation but those of other regular café-goers both male AND female!

If you are wondering about the historical significance of the pix above. it is the Amuri Parking Building that once hosted student raves when the Uni was in town. Trailer tankers of beer were towed in, live bands used a make-shift stage plus the odd poet performed and fun and drunkenness was enjoyed by all. And the chair in the foreground? Did it once belong to a certain Christchurch Queen's Council??


16/3/2012: Don’t fence me in!

A bit late for the Edmonds Clock Tower on the corner of Madras and  Chester Streets in the fenced in city centre. Constructed of volcanic and Oamaru stone it incorporates two clock faces and was donated in 1029 by T.J. Edmonds to celebrate 50 years of living in Christchurch. Here's a song about fences! chesterstreet
A knock-it-down at work near the tower – Is the tower next??



15/3/2012: Things are suspiciously quiet in Catastrophe City with the Other Estates keeping out of trouble - Sayrah's opening the Square to gawpers has gone down well, CCC is strangely silent and the EQC is quietly beavering away. The Fourth Estate has also been rather benign just recording the local news rather than making it. It could be the calm before the storm for certain problems are bubbling away, one of them is the movement of retail and entertainment businesses moving into hard-core industrial areas and the friction between them - pooh you do smell! More to come on that.


Now here's a crack in Sydenham. It was exposed by an Auckland Director during filming.




And, is this the youngest protester in Christchurch?? Seen arriving at the recent protest by the Helpless Against the Hopeless at the Council Hutch.



12/3/2012: An idea for quake-hit home-owners - get one of these!! gypsys

House-trucks and modified buses lined up in Christchurch yesterday. About 30 of the unique gypsy vehicles on their annual tour of the South Island parked the weekend in Bromley Park to the enjoyment of many of those remaining in the East.

Another positive happening is this Put-It-Up at work on the new St Martin’s supermarket.



10/3/2012: Goodbye thirty years! glennis

Glennis, left, came to say farewell to 30 years of her working life. She was one of the custodians of the toilets in the Square but this is as far as she can get to them now – the checkpoint on Gloucester Street. Yet if she were a celebrity or bureaucrat, and not a working ratepayer, she could be allowed in anytime.

 Talking of access to the central city, Sayrah is allowing God Botherers and others into the Square to say bye byes to the crumpled Anglican Cathedral.

Some of Sayrah’s rules for this weekend’s Walk in the Red Zone:

  1. This space is still dangerous.
  2. If there is an earthquake or other event you may be seriously injured or may not survive.
  3. This is CERA space, not public space. There are conditions you must meet:

And they want to rebuild the CBD? Even tidy little New Regent Street, but who the heck is going to return to the city centre after having to re-invent their lives in the suburbs? The Ladies of Manchester Street? That’s an idea, they could display their wares in the wee ground floor shops which all have rooms on the second floor for consummation of the contract, so to speak, and no ratepayers living nearby to be annoyed. Now there’s a idea for our Christchurch City Council, take the hassle and stress away from the Manchester Street ratepayers and dump it in bit of the city nobody wants, plus it'll help bring life back to the CBD - oops, sorry I meant Sayrah space!



9/3/2012: Recognise the building on the right now? wherdistoo

This is the view looking towards Tuam Street and Alice’s on the left. High Street and the Queen’s Corgis (dog-napped by the CCC for their own safety) are to the right – still a cfish up for grabls!

Some good news for those in the Eastern Suburbs – a new café come night=club is about to open in New Brighton – more to come.

gaudi's Cathedral

Talking of religious buildings, here’s a famous one in Barcelona – perhaps our local God Botherers can take heart from the fact that it was started in 1882 and is due for completion in 2026! Have a zquizz here!


8/3/2012:     Café talk has been very negative this week. Even though there is some semblance of recovery, many are talking in a profoundly negative way. Perhaps the recent anniversary of the Great Catastrophe (February 22nd 2011) has shown many people just how far the recovery has to go, perhaps it is the seemingly incompetent actions and lack of compassion of the bureaucrats in charge of the recovery that are depressing many. Whatever it is, it’s the first time I have seen it so obvious – the negative stories out-numbering the positive.

We saw this on the pages of the nation’s top newspaper last week with the people’s idea of the re-build of the city centre and the developers’ ideas – from low-rise to high-rise and ner the twain shall meet!

Anyway here’s a test of your knowledge of the central city – what is the building this knock-it-down is ripping into? A chocolate fish for the first correct answer. Yes, Peter, I know you are waiting for your cfish, but the pesky Australian bio security people sent it back.


6/3/2012: dobermann

With rampant looting and arson going on in the Eastern Marches, that's the Red Zoned areas of Eastern Christchurch, such as Aranui, Bexley, Avonside and Brighton, for overseas readers, the few residents left in their damaged homes are doing their best to protect themselves and their property - would you want to atempt to set fire or loot this place??

Even the Police are having problems keeping people and things safe, though there was a success in the Central City Red Zone on Friday night - Z CARS for ever!!


The Flower of Christchurch; tough, resilient, grows anywhere! This pix a few postings ago has generated a massive inflow of e-mails, all positive!


For Rosella, it was snapped on Opawa Road in one of the least damaged suburbs of Christchurch. And yes, you may use it on your e-mails.

25/2/2012: Have you heard of D Company? It is a new arm of the NZ Defence Force helping protect the Christchurch Red Zone from interlopers, such as property owners and ratepayers, from gaining access to the central city.


Territorial soldier, Andre, checks out the health of D Company near the Manchester Street checkpoint. The soldiers and the ducks have become firm friends over the last year after the Territorial Soldiers started feeding their feathered comrades during their 12-hour shifts manning the checkpoint

Café gossip has it that the Earthquake Commission is still showing signs of overload with contractors not being paid for months or, even worse, being paid two or three times for the same job. The gossip is that one local contractor was paid multiple times (rumour is three or four) for the same job which he billed at around $50,000. He contacted EQC about the multiple payments and was told that it was correct so he cashed the cheques, sold his Christchurch house and is now living it up elsewhere.

On the insurance front the chatter is that a few more are happy with payouts, but one Sumner resident whose three-quarters-of-million dollar home is to be rebuilt (she had a full replacement policy) is appalled at the extent of the foundations needed for the re-build – 40, yes forty piles reaching 30 to 40 metres deep! It’ll turn her nice wee house into a million-dollar mansion. Stunned by the extra cost she suggested to her insurance company that she move elsewhere to keep costs down, Nope, sorry the policy is for replacement.

Now here’s a heart warmer for you. An accountant was paid out $100,000 for her house by EQC and the same thing happened to her as happened to the contractor – multiple payments. After contacting EQC and being told everything was OK, she put the cheques in the bank and bought Bonus Bonds with the dosh. After many weeks EQC asked for their money back, which our efficient accountant returned, but leaving the $400,000 dollars she had won in the account.

I wonder what the legal angle is here – any thoughts??


24/2/2012: Nefarious goings on at the former LWR site?


Snatching a couple of images of the former Lane Walker Rudkin site in deepest Sydenham on Wednesday and talking to a contractor just inside the gate on Durham Street triggered a visit from a small man in a shiny black wagon. You are not allowed here. Move, he said. His approach was so aggressive that I suspected something nefarious was going on and did a bit of sniffing around.

Wow, the gossip came thick and fast, suspicious bunkers, a safe room and a tunnel under a nearby street, all not on the original plans but additions over the years? One of the bunkers was for the boilers that I know, but the rest?? Anybody know?


The good news is that the site will become a giant Smiths Mitre 10 with heaps of parking and a big garden centre when the Smiths Mitre 10 business on Colombo Street moves there in a couple of years. Gossip is the current Beckenham site could become a cinema.


23/2/2012: The flower of Christchurch. Tough, resilient, grows anywhere!streetflower

Everyone points to communication as the most important thing needed form the Three Estates (Christchurch City Council, the Earthquake Commission and the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority.) and the Fourth Estate (the news media). A clear, simple exposition of the facts unbridled by jargon and politically correct euphemisms, the simple who, what, where and when. All four have sicked-up some vile examples and caused many in this quake torn city extreme stress and bewilderment. Some have even been hilarious, see earlier postings on this page, but one of the funniest I have read recently was the job advertisements from the City Council and published in the jobs section of Saturday’s The Press.

In one of them, advertising for a Community and Safety Manger, whose job is; “Providing dedicated leadership to the Council’s Safer Christchurch Team, this role has 9 direct and 6.5 indirect reports working in the areas of crime prevention, injury prevention and as metropolitan community advisors.’’

Anybody any idea of what it means? If this is the way CCC staff are communicating with each other then there is little hope for us. A quick call elicited the information that the .5 of a report meant a part-time worker. Does that merit .5 of a report?

Now for a quick chortle, have a read of these:

Don’t get too smug you in the Fourth Estate for you’re nothing to write home about!



22/2/2012: RIP Christchurch's central city!


An early morning view of Manchester Street from the Avon River bridge looking towards the Port Hills taken in the 1970's - all gone now!


And the same view at 2pm today NB. No knock-it-downs, Sayrah officials or soldiers manning the Red Zone cordon were injured during the taking of this photograph - thanks lads!



A giant knock-it-down awaits its next meal in the central business district. The voracious and smelly creatures are kept behind wire fences to protect the few remaining central city dwellers.

In Christchurch, parents recite horrific tales of the vile deeds of the knock-it-downs in an effort to make their children go to sleep. Operated by one man, a knock-it-down can devour a whole five or six storey building in a day and Sayrah, the organisation that handles the feeding of the giants, says there is still about half the city to go!

Though kept behind wire fences, the knock-it-downs have free range of the CBD unlike property owners and ratepayers.

Sayrah publishes a list of feeding times and other interesting gossip HERE! It's picture gallery is also worth a peep.



18/2/2012: Old fencers never give up – they just do something else!


Brian Roberts learnt fencing at Christchurch Boys High School from 1949 – 1952 and he even remembers the name of his coach, Mr Culverstone and how much fun fencing was, but then he joined the Air Force and had even more fun flying aero planes. Talking about old fencers, have a look at these elderly ones doddering around in Dunedin and having fun: FENCING FUN!

Kiwi fencers score silver in foil teams at the Commonwealth Junior Fencing Championships! See link in post for 11/2/2012 for more results. And here is the final word on epee versus sabre: WARNING! Factual and disgraceful language used!


The moral of this posting is that fencing is fun at any age! So try it at a club near you:

University of Canterbury Fencing Club. Location: Education Gymnasium 10 (Here's a map!) . Sunday, 2 til 4pm. Contact: Secretary, Brett Davis

United Fencing Club. Shirley Intermediate School Gymnasium. Training Times:Tuesday 7.00 pm to 9.00pm Contact: Rob Sheard Ph: 03 980 1914 

The Sabre Club. Waltham Primary School hall corner of Hastings and Vienna Streets. Training Times: Monday evenings starting at 7pm til 9pm. Contact: Secretary, Vik Manuge, Ph: 03 366 6396. 

The Fencing Institute . 91 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington. Training Times: Various. Monday: and Tuesday Contact: Kate Brill Ph: 021 615 095 

Mt Pleasant Swords Club . Mt Pleasant Scout Hall, Old School Reserve, 172 Major Hornbrook Road. Training Times:Mondays, 7 till 8.30pm Contact: Roger Horton: Ph: 03 981 3159.

Christchurch Fencing Academy . Location: Kendal School, 53 Kendal Avenue, Burnside. Training Times:Monday Nights 7:15 to 9.15pm. March – November. Contact:Jan Tabak Ph:03 980 6935, cell: 021 163 0429, or Mary Anne-Baxter - 352 9257



17/2/2012: Bob’s a flusher. No, not a flasher scaring everybody with his hi-vis suit and flashing lights, but a flusher!

One thing about the earthquake aftermath is that you meet all sorts of interesting people. After February’s event I met many of my neighbours for the first time and, as this site reveals, many others.

Now meet Bob, he’s a flusher for City Care and has been dong that job since 1967 when he started work with the former Drainage Board. What’s a flusher? It’s a person who flushes drains.


Bob keeps our, mainly gravity flow, drains in order and makes sure they are running properly. He does this by regular inspections and if he finds them flowing a bit turgidly, by literally flushing them with water. The gravity flow drains have a water tank at the up-hill bit where they begin so if there is any turgid bits down-stream Bob can unleash a flood of water and flush it away.

Yesterday he was repairing the heavy cast iron drain cover damaged by you know what.

Anyone heard from the other Bob? His Town Clerk made the national news on the telly last night, out playing golf instead of attending a council meeting - bugger, I forgot to ask Bob the Flusher if he played golf too. Perhaps it could become a fully funded Cristchurch City Council sport and the CCC workers able to take time from their very important job of re-building the quake shattered infrastructure too.


16/2/2012: Had a few grumpy remarks over yesterday's posting about high-rise buildings.


It's only the scared and losers talking said one, I haven't been in the CBD for more than 10 years said another, who lives in the Eastern Marches and whose feet appear above. Both were suggesting it was a beat-up but then came an international sports team whose concerns validated the posting.

Read about it in the nation's top newspaper, THE PRESS So there. Stuff it up your jumper!


15/2/2012: The sounds of the knock-it-downs are loud this morning. The rain has not put them off nor drowned out the thumping, crashing noises as they tear down more high rise buildings less than half-a-dozen blocks away in central Christchurch. colombostrubble

High rises are going to be a problem in the re-build of the city. By high rises I mean any building taller than two floors, the problem is than many people will not inhabit them. Even now employers, especially those of large local or national government departments, are having trouble staffing them as many people who survived the earthquakes refuse to work in them. anotel

Employers have harnessed their quaintly named Human Resources departments to overcome the drag by offering psychological counseling and other forms of intimidation to those deemed a bit quake shy and who are leery about inhabiting offices above the ground floor. Rather than accept the Human Resource glad-handers employees have demanded that meetings be held on the ground floor or left to work elsewhere than in high-rise buildings they feel unsettled in.

This could be bad news for property and building moguls wanting to make the most from their investments. It will be bad news for many small businesses unable to find reasonably priced premises. Who remembers the Mollet Street Market now? (Thanks for the quick e-mail Bazz. The Pix below is NOT of the former Mollet Street Market, but if you look at the pix at the top of this posting you might just catch a glimpse of where it used to be!) afence

Blame the earthquakes. Blame the engineers who designed, built and then inspected the buildings and passed them as fit for use. Blame local and national government legalisation. Blame the property moguls. Blame the businesses that leased the buildings. Hell, even blame our God Bothering early settlers for building in the middle of a swamp in the first place, but that won’t stop the rebuild though it might slow it down – there’s just too much money to be made!


13/2/2012: More break-ins and looting in Avonside!


Avonside Drive residents, the few that remain, are pissed-off at the Poor Police Presence since the roadblock at Torlesse Street and their street was removed. With the roadblock in place and the street access limited they saw three our four police patrols each day of their street of damaged and abandoned homes. Now it has been removed and traffic allowed access they are lucky to see one patrol in four days! This says Joe has led to indiscriminate looting of the damaged and empty houses.

Here two residents await the Police and owner of a damaged house, broken in to in the early hours of yesterday morning, as gawpers drive past avonsideone

Those that are left are also dusted-off that the almost entirely abandoned Locksley Avenue on the opposite side of the Avon River has it’s dust watered three our four times a day versus Avonside Drive’s once. Nick says bugger-all traffic use Locksley Ave whereas Avonside has become a veritable drive-through with rooster-tails of dust as motorists try to avoid the Woodham Road roadwork’s.

Do the remaining residents need a DUST OFF?


12/2/2012: Where have all the wee central city businesses gone?


Of the 12 businesses I went shopping at within the four avenues before February’s earthquake in 2011 only four have kept trading. One within the four avenues, three outside in the suburbs and the others? Poof!

It seems sole traders have been forgotten in the rebuild. That or there is no demand for them. Four I know of have left Christchurch and set up elsewhere, a café, a second-hand bookshop, a photographer and a barber/tobacconist.

And while the TIN BOXES as extolled by John Suckling in the nation’s top newspaper yesterday was a great idea and may have done something for the central city, the rent and costs of around $1000 per week is just too steep for most sole traders. What is needed is a canvas town in one of these vacant areas in the central city, above, and quick too.

stmartincafeOn a more positive note Alan, right, and his staff at the Mint Cafe in St Martins are chuffed their business is open again - go and support them! On the left, a Big Red driver gallops in for a coffee.

Below: The Ziggurat comes down - one of the reasons for the death of the Central City - it blocked off and strangled a perfectly functioning Victoria Street. Lets hope the street is re-opened soon!



11/2/2012: Now for some fencing news.

The 2012 Commonwealth Junior Fencing Championships starts on Monday and Kiwis are competing so have a look at: KIWI FENCERS IN ACTION!

Don’t look for pix though for the site’s strange photo viewing policy requires you to have a password so go on FACEBOOK! or Twitter for them.


And here is an exciting sabre shot borrowed from the FEDERATION INTERNATIONAL D'ESCRIME! great fencing website, you can find out the caption details, of who and where, there!



10/2/2012: What does Meridian Energy know that we in Quake City don’t?

meridian energy

After the earthquake on September 4 th 2010 they sent us customers a battery radio which most of us used after February’s quake - whole suburbs of us sitting in the dark or candlelight and listening to other bemused and suffering people.

As Meridian said, “Following the earthquake in September last year, our Christchurch customers told us that being connected to the outside world was crucial. We listened, and after the earthquake in February thousands of Christchurch customers relied on information from the battery powered emergency radios we distributed.”

Now what is in store for us? ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE ...

It seems that only Meridian customers in the East and South got the torch but not those in Fendalton and some other places.

Cummon Meridian spill the beans! Out with it, what do you know that we don’t!

Oh, and thanks for the torch!


6/2/2012: Christchurch is the gateway to the Canterbury Plains and its agricultural and tourist wealth and will continue to attract those wanting to make a buck. That's why Bob's wee trip to Asia is important, but so is the rebuild and its happening now in the delightful suburbs of Waltham, St Martins and Sydenham.

A café returns to St Martins.arisecafe

Men behind the wire…behindthewire

…and their handiwork – the rebuilding of the St Martins supermarket. arisemarket

MEN BEHIND THE WIRE: Just change a few words and it could be about Quake City and our travails. Insert the words earthquake, Christchurch City Council, Sayrah and EQC where appropriate.

Yum, something different to finish with: KIWI MEAT PIES IN NEW YORK



3/2/1012: Dumped and parked are today’s lessons.

A fitting epitaph?


Seen in a rubbish skip near the Council Hutch on Hereford Street at the end of Wednesday’s protest of the Helpless Against the Hopeless – HAH!


What neighbours have known (and seen) for months, drunken apartments on Park Terrace. No this is not poor cropping, compare the edges of the building on the left with the lamp post or the building on the right.

Have a good quake-free Waitangi Day!


2/2/2012: Yesterday’s protest by the Helpless against the Hopeless was a waste of energy and if it was meant to drive home a message it failed. But folks had a good time as these trainee parking Nazis’ show.


Former Mayor VICKI BUCK and current MP LIANNE DALZIEL were enjoying the atmosphere, and no doubt secretly thinking,” but for the grace of …”.


While old schoolmates greet each other after many years. The pair, un-named for their own protection, are both Christchurch ratepayers and former pupils of St Bede’s College.


Ending on a positive note, the building of the first new home in the Eastern Marches should start by the end of the month! The family have collared insurance cover and the dreaded building consent.



1/2/2012: Oh, touched raw nerve with yesterday’s posting and an oldie or two have had a moan – one of them bought me a coffee! No, he didn’t pour it over me!


An Anti-American Anti-Vietnam War protest at the office of the American Consul on the Manchester/Kilmore Street corner in the late 1960’s – see many oldies there???


On the right is St Luke’s Church, now an empty section – many oldies there?


The building a couple of days ago – anybody there?

Now here are some pix from today's protest at the Council Hutch - is this ghostly figure standing in a window high about the gathered grey-hairs on Hereford Street, Bob or Tony???protesttwo


The Media Circus in action.



Imagine what this mob could have achieved gardening in the Red Zone?

More to come including shots of some political figures from the past who turned out for the March of the Helpless Against The Hopeless.

31/1/2012: Smashed windscreens and the Square littered with bodies were the results of previous protests in Quake City, but most unlikely to happen again at tomorrow’s March of the Helpless Against The Hopeless.

The bodies in the Square and at Harewood airport, as it was then known, were that of the Viet Nam War protestors of the late 1960’s and early 70’s. They were gleefully carted away with polite "excuse me's" from the Police and "thank-you's" from the protestors.


While Rohan, seen here yesterday near the munted stands of AMI Stadium, vividly recalls the large number of smashed car windscreens he saw, when he returned to his car parked in nearby Gasson Street in 1981, after the Springboks vs All Blacks match in the stadium formerly known as Lancaster Park. Apparently the more agitated members of the Halt All Racist Tours movement released their stresses on the cars of rugby supporters.

Is that likely to happen tomorrow??



Protest is the preserve of the young, not the old and doddery! But I’ll be there just in case any of the Baby Boomer protestors of the 1960’s and 70’s get a rush of blood to the head and chain themselves to the scaffolding or the banisters inside the Council Hutch! Will they even get inside?



30/1/2012: The Axemen are in town playing at the new DUX LIVE on Lincoln Road in deepest Addington this Saturday, February 4 at a ChCh '80s reunion gig!


Who are the Axemen?



It’s taken nearly a year for ratepayers to get off their arses.

Nearly a year of individual moaning and whining and pettiness.

Nearly a year of blaming someone else rather than the God-botherering founders of our city that poet Denis Glover talks about in HOT WATER SAILOR.

Nearly a year of do-gooders holding protest meetings attended by a few.

Nearly a year of bullshit gobbledegook communication from CCC, Sayrah and EQC or, even worse, none! But having said that, we only have ourselves to blame, not the leaderless bureaucratic slaves doing their best for us.

Lets face it vibrant, effective protests like those against the war in Viet Nam or the Springbok thugby tour are the preserve of the young and not the thousands of property-owning elderly left damaged or looted in Quake City.

The young have little interest in politics, local or otherwise, and the intelligent ones are already working in Europe or Australia – anywhere but Christchurch – while those left behind are only interested in when the Oxford Booze Strip will re-open! And those, whose futures will be most impacted by the re-building of Christchurch, will be at school this Wednesday.

Will they laugh at “Gardening In The Red Zone” or, “Fortification Of The Art Gallery/Civil Defence Bunker to protect its inmates from pissed-off central city businessfolks.” stories in the future? I doubt it, but having survived the catastrophe, they are going to be much tougher and harder-nosed than the present mob


29/1/2012: A new shac in Sydenham! shac

The furore over the moving of the Christchurch City Council’s after-hours telephone service to Palmerston North is a bit of hot air flatulence as it seems a prudent move given the catastrophe that’s hit Christchurch, you can still telephone the CCC during normal office hours, but have you tried to telephone the local or regional offices of other government departments? Even during office hours you are channeled through Wellington and as for after hours, well …!

Try phoning the Christchurch regional office of Work and Income or have a look at their websites, Child, Youth and Family.

And these are supposed to be public services suitable for dumb twits, like me, without a degree in IT or website translation. Does this betray a government desire to keep a rein on its minions? Bureaucratic distrust of it’s minions in the regions? The new style of communication? A lack of communication skills in those employed by the organizations?

Even the gilded Fourth Estate is not immune from gobbledygook and PR speak. A story and pix in Saturday’s The Press, on page A19, was all about the glorious rebuilding of our shattered city, trouble is that nowhere in the story or caption did it mention what suburb the action was in – Sydenham!

Talking of Sydenham the gossip is that the former Winz building on Colombo Street (on the left in the pix of Gap Filler’s new headquarters site in Sydenham, below) is to come down and a prison camp of temporary huts to be parked on the corner of Colombo and Sandyford Streets



27/1/2012: Question: Should Bob and his mob be worried about this afternoon’s meeting with Nick Smith.

Answer: Nuh! They’re our folks and we voted them in so its our problem, not the rest of the country’s, and up to us to deal with them – how about a couple of thousand ratepayers turning out for next Wednesday’s gathering of the helpless against the hopeless at the Council Hutch??

Don’t hold your breath for the art of affirmative action of the Viet Nam War or the Springbok Tour kind is strictly the preserve of the young and not the moaning oldies left in quake City.

As one café-goer said this week; “If a couple of thousand people turned out to use the shops and toilets at Christchurch International Airport that would tie things up and make a great stink by pissing off local and international air travellers.” Apparently it happened in the States where just the threat of the gathering was enough to get the city’s mayor and his cohort to do the will of the people.

Another affirmative action suggested would be to dump bags of quick-setting cement in the toilet bowls of the Council House – use your imagination for the consequences that would have.


See what the quakes have done to the former Council House.

Read what the moaners and whiners are up to in today’s copy of THE PRESS


26/1/2012: The war of words.

I don’t want to say, “I told you so”, but most people in Quake City could see the looming boil-up over communication, or the apparent lack of it, in our struggling city. So the war of words between EQC and The Press was to be expected.

Now a former journalist from The Press is to undertake a review of the Christchurch City Council’s communications while the spin-doctors from other organizations with a vested interest in the city seem to have gone quiet – are they still on holiday?

If you consider the Christchurch City Council, Sayrah and EQC and their groupies, as the “three estates” and the news media as the “fourth estate” in quake City and count up the number of media manipulators each has you’d be surprised! What's the Fourth Estate?

Christchurch City Council has ten full-time media slaves and two who titivates the web site, though some say it is more like 23 when you add in the waifs and strays from other sections of the bureaucracy. Sayrah has about eight including those on secondment. EQC have two in Christchurch and five in Wellington. That’s around 27 for the three. Plus around another 15 or so for the groupies determined to put their own spin on things, (By groupies I mean those ‘other’ organizations with an interest in Quake City). Giving a rough total of 42.

in Quake City, we have about 23 on the print front: The Press has 14 media slaves, the Star five. Mainland Press have four. On the Television and Radio fronts there are about 20. TVNZ would not divulge the number of media slaves they employ in Christchurch, for safety reasons they said! CTV has three and TV3 has five plus two Campbell Live reporters. As for radio, goodness knows, I only listen to it when the shit hits the fan and then it is mostly talkback, and they do an excellent job with their immediacy. However Radio New Zealand has four plus a vacancy, so if you are looking for job, get in touch. That’s a total of 43.

So the sides are reasonably matched for the ongoing battle. But having said that, an un-armed man (which is what most of us normal people in Quake City are) should not get on the piste (fencing strip) between two armed fencers but stay on the sidelines and cheer for their man, or woman.

Cummon the Fourth Estate!!

Anyone want to borrow a sabre or two?

Now for a bit of light relief:


This duck has joined soldiers in manning an entry/exit point in the fenced-in and locked-down Red Zone in central Christchurch. The gates keep a check on the number of looters and Black Ops in the abandoned buildings still standing after nearly 10,000 earthquakes. Black Ops is a term locals use to describe the actions of former central city business people in recovering posessions, paperwork and goods generally without permission from Sayrah. Wots Sayrah? Now what happened to that electronic hotel booking system that was turned down by a local second-hand dealer, but ended up being sold elsewhere by looters?

(Apologies, I keep forgetinng that many readers of this page are from overseas and are not locals so I forget the who, what, where and when mantra of sucessful caption writing. The Duck is manning the Manchester Street, bridge over the Avon River, gate on one side of the Avon River, not far from where protests against the Vietnam War were held in the 1960's!)



21/1/2012: Psst, wanna see some amazing images? Have a look up this SKIRT!!

or here: Skirting the action

Or here: markhamtoo

It was there on the 19th - have a look, but not now.

Or this huge truck-borne knock-it-down backing its way slowly up Gloucester Street - that's the Manchester Street parking building on the right.




19/1/2012: SMOKO time in Quake City:


Even the smelly knock-it-downs need a break – this one squats on the remains of old Sydenham Post Office. RIP 1911-2011!


Kate and Paul await customers at their central–city Kea Coffee Cabin on the korner of Manchester and St Asaph streets. They serve the local workers returning to businesses slowly coming back to the area and a surprising number of sightseers traipsing round the Red Zone fence-line.


Central-city workers enjoy their smoko in the shade.


18/1/2012: A wander round the fenced-in Red Zone in central Christchurch is a highlight for many tourists. In talking to them most have NO idea of what really happened and what was there and what is coming down. Just as well as nobody lives there now otherwise the Letters to the Editor page of the nation's top newspaper would be filled by anti-rubbernecker rants.


Knock it downs about to get to work in Kilmore Street - Above: this is what happens if you didn't leave your office in a tidy condition - everyone can see it.

And, below, if you get your road rules wrong in Madras Street? No worries, no traffic.


And still on Madras Street, the birth of a new stream in Quake City. Or is it a water leak?




16/1/2012: What do you do on a Saturday night in the quake-flattened Eastern suburbs – break into an abandoned house and make music!


A New Brighton couple were woken early Sunday morning not by the 5.1 earthquake just off-shore, but the tinkling keys of this piano in the deserted house next door. A call of, keep it down chaps, by the neighbour saw the music lovers leave, but without them sweeping the floor clean or repairing the wrenched door before they left.

Looting and squatters have been a constant problem in the empty buildings and homes of Quake City, but this musical soirée is a new thing – music while you quake. The Police were informed but appeared disinterested. Perhaps they didn’t like the music? I know, I know, two horrible puns!


15/1/2012: This building at 123 Victoria Street meets its end this week.



As did these frig/frezzers last week.



13/1/2012: Its Friday the thirteenth and here are a couple of zany views to show that things are still functioning in Quake City.

Open for business in Christchurch.

Looting! openforbustwo

Bet there are no looters in this Police vehicle seen escaping from its hutch outside the court house in the central city yesterday. Read John Royle’s letter to the editor on page A9 of yesterday’s The Press. The Sumner resident highlights the bizarre dichotomy between the Justice handed out to looters in Quake City by our courts, and the bizarre threat of huge fines for those staying in their read-stickered homes ostensibly to protect them from LOOTING! Weird, is not the word.

And now the threat of STRAWBERRY POLICE says Joe Bennett in the nation’s top newspaper.


God Botherers!


You have to admire them. With most of their brick and stone buildings damaged and many flattened – they have not given up.


11/1/2012: A door too far?podoor

Or a door to nowhere – the front door of the former Sydenham Post Office on Colombo Street AND here's what is behind that door - a grumbling, stinky knock-it-down.


And for those with a musical bent, doors of another kind beckon: RIDER ON THE STORM a hit from forty-odd years ago is most appropriate for those 360,000 folks in Christchurch riding out their very won personal storm of earthquakeS.

About THE DOORS! and their music.

Talking of doors, here’s the front door of the Christchurch Casino this morning. Rumour is that they are going to build a new frontage! doortoofar


7/1/2012: A public relations exercise for bureaucrats or facts for the ratepayers? The quakes keep rumbling on even shaking up a technical briefing yesterday by quake scientists for Mayor Bob, City Councilors, Sayrah, Members of Parliament and the Media, but not ratepayers and citizens of Christchurch, who were excluded. Does it (the closed meeting not the quake) provide more evidence of a breakdown in communication between the recovery bureaucracies and ratepayers highlighted in Thursday’s posting?

Will Mayor Bob, City Councillors, Sayrah, Members of Parliament and the Media turn up for the February 1 st peoples meeting at the Christchurch City Council’s offices?

Here's a good news story.


Amanda and her three-year-old son had two rented houses, one in Kaiapoi and one in Woolston, flattened in the September and February quakes. The pair then moved to the North Island near Taurangi, but the grumbling of the near-by mountain saw them return to Christchurch determined to stay. Their Richmond house was damaged in June’s quake but the pair are still here! Peace!

Finally, well done Peter. You named most of the Kiwi fencers in the photo (below). The Choccy fish is yours and will wing it’s way to you in Melbourne under a plain wrapper to avoid quarantine problems - like our Kiwi apples.


5/1/2012: And now for some fencing news:


  • Epeeist Brett Davis gets married to Kelly tomorrow in Christchurch.
  • Christchurch Sabreur Luke Robertson has proposed to partner Shona and they plan to tie the knot in Fiji.
  • Sabreur Jonathan Chan and partner Nikki are in Christchurch for a visit. The pair are living and working in Germany.
  • The current Fencing New Zealand officers, President Ken Claridge , Secretary Vicci Lamb and Treasurer Robert Gestaldo-Brac are willing to continue in their positions for 2012.
  • 2012 Competition list (so far).

February 4 – 6 New Zealand Masters Fencing, Dunedin.

April 13 – 15 New Zealand U15 and Cadets (U17) Championships,

Fencing South (Dunedin).

21 – 22, Fencing Central Championships, Wellington.

21 – 22 Australian U15 and u17 Championships, Sydney.

June 2 – 3 North Island Championships, North (Auckland).

July 7 – 8 Fencing South Championships, Dunedin.

13 – 15 Oceania Junior Championships, New Caledonia.

August 18 – 19 New Zealand Junior (U20) Championships Central


September 1 – 2 South Island Championships, Fencing South (Dunedin).

22 – 23 Fencing North Championships, (Auckland).

27 – 30 Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships,


October 4 – 7 Australian Junior (U20) Championships, Brisbane.

26 – 27 Asian Junior (U20) Championships, Bali.

December 8 – 9 New Zealand National (open) Championships, MidSouth


7 – 11 Australian National Championships, Canberra.

(Awaiting dates and/or organisers are the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships, and the Asian U23 Championships.. Plus a plethora of other regional or club comps including the University of Canterbury Fencing Club’s Eccleston one-hit Epee – contact your club or regional organization for details.)

Bob Anderson, the British fencing coach who staged many movie sword-fighting scenes, has died aged 89. More about Bob at: DARTH VADER! He also published some well received books on fencing – see Books to Read section.

Recognise anyone in the above photo? You could win a chokky fish by being the first to correctly identify a member of this great Kiwi fencing team living it up in ……..? (Nelson epeeist David Eccleston was the Kiwi fencer who made it through to the second round of the foil event at the 72 World Fencing Championships - See pix posted 9/11/2011).



5/1/2012: soggytwo

Today Sayrah erected a fence round the soggy gable end of the old Primary Teachers College building on Peterborough Street (see pix posted on 2/1/2012).


Yesterday they came and painted some orange lines on the driveway of the 25-apartment complex next door, this morning they came and erected the fence blocking both the overground and underground car parking of the apartment’s occupiers. It was only when some occupiers complained that they needed to get their cars that Cera relented and will allow occupiers until tomorrow to rescue their vehicles before they chain up the fence so it cannot be moved. They have also promised to contact the occupiers to let them know what is about to happen.

This action highlights the lack of communication tween Quake City’s residents and those (supposedly) in control, be it City Council or Sayrah:

  1. The gable end crumbled on December 23 (see pix of the rubble posted on 25/12/2012) and people and vehicles have been going in and out since then – that’s nearly two weeks. Why so long to react? There was mention of urgent work in the central city red zone, but nobody lives there!
  1. Given that it is SO dangerous for the occupiers of the nearby complex why were they not informed of the restrictions until AFTER the fence was erected today? Many are on holiday and will return to find their cars trapped while others will have to find parking on the nearby streets thus cluttering up the streets and provide rich pickings for the City Council’s Parking Nazis.
  2. soggythree

Residents don’t count is what appears to have been demonstrated. Lack of communication is the other. Strange, perhaps Sayrah needs to increase it’s media and public relations staff ? I know two locals who are up to the job. It is rumoured Sayrah has 28 to the CCC’s 12 media slaves?


4/1/2012: The Law never sleeps in quake-torn Christchurch even when most of the court is still behind bars, or fences in this case!

courtCourt security guard Tony was on hand for 2012’s first sitting in the slightly rumpled central city Court House today. The special Arrest Court, for those miscreants arrested over the holiday period, was presided over by Judge Saunders. Normal courts resume next week.




2/1/3012: cityflag

If 2011 in Christchurch ended with a jolt or two then 2012 has got off to a flying start this morning by waking up much of the South Island between Ashburton and Kaikoura with a couple of early morning low fives, I mean real low fives and not your usual exuberant high fives, so there were a lot of tired looking café-goers today, but strangely, not grumpy ones as could be expected. In fact the atmosphere reminded me of this New Zealand flag still flying atop the former Primary Teachers’ College building in Peterborough Street since 2010 when the quakes began – a bit grubby, a bit tattered, a bit faded, but bugger me it’s still flying above central Christchurch!

More about the New Zealand flag HERE or HERE!

And here's a shot of the old building still standing, but a bit bendy at the top.....cran


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