We started off this morning by heading to downtown Christchurch. There, we met with Jo Stevenson to tour the city and learn about the earthquake that had taken place in February 2011. Jo studied Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in college (she’s an alumna of UIUC), where she met her Kiwi husband, Mark. For graduate school, however, she studied natural disaster management.
Mark and Jo returned to Mark’s homeland of New Zealand shortly before the massive and destructive Christchurch earthquake. During the tour, we viewed many different places—from areas still under construction, to renovated areas of Christchurch including the Transitional Cathedral Church, to memorials for the earthquake victims.
Despite the somber focus of the tour, it was extremely interesting to learn about the types of resilient strategies businesses employed to deal with the earthquake.
We also had a chance to spend a few minutes at the largest playground in the southern hemisphere! We would also have to say that the playground was a hit! Many of us enjoyed the giant slide!
Even five years later after the massive earthquake, a significant amount of construction is still ongoing to return the city back to where it was before the earthquake. There are still many churches, business buildings, and roads that remain untouched after crumbling down during the second earthquake and aftershocks.
After the tour, many of us headed to Burgerfuel for lunch and then headed off to Mark and Jo Stevenson’s sheep farm. We learned the ropes of how their sheep operation works as well as how natural disasters, such as droughts and earthquakes, have affected them and their neighbors.
After our time with Mark, Jo, and their adorable son, Ted, we headed to Kaikoura. Our whole group was not able to stay in one hotel, so the boys were in one hotel and the girls were in a separate hotel just down the road. Once we got all checked in, we headed to a pub that had some great seafood along with other pub food. It was nice to have a night to talk about all our experiences within the first week of our trip!