At 12:51pm they held a two-minute silence for the 185 people who lost their lives during the February 2011 earthquake, before placing flowers in in the river. As they sent the flowers adrift, students from Banks Avenue School sang a waiata to mark the occasion.
A memorable and rewarding experience
Having lived through the earthquakes, the city’s recovery, it’s ongoing rebuild, or all three, people from the Christchurch team say they were pleased to be able to use their Community Day to mark the anniversary.
“I found it very rewarding doing my little bit in helping to improve the area we were working on. I mostly worked on weed removal. Our supervisors were students from Banks Avenue School. They were very clear in their requirements and what was expected from us. They told us what to do and we did it—it was great! Thankfully they did allow us an ice block break.” Michelle Blanchet, Project Financial Officer.
“I was blown away by the children from Banks Ave School and the time they took to talk to us about the projects they want to complete on land gifted by CCC. Working with the community to help create something that is meaningful for current and future students was humbling, and a nice way to spend what is typically a hard day.” Hannah Gibbons, National Manager – Business Support Services.
“Visiting the Red Zone and listening to the passionate community members we interacted with regarding their plans for the area was a really positive way to mark the significant day. I thoroughly enjoyed contributing a few manual hours of work to give back and engage with this resilient community.” Jess Gale, Graduate Engineer Bridges and Civil Structures, who also says the experience was eye opening.
“I didn’t realise how badly the earthquakes ripped apart that part of town, and it is incredible to think they’re still recovering after all these years,” she says. “It was awesome to work with the kids, whose whole lives have been defined by the earthquake recovery, and really inspiring to see how much effort they’ve put into making the Red Zone a habitable and useful space. A really moving and memorable way to mark 10 years.” Emma Wardle, Engineer Structures, and recent Christchurch resident.
Collaborating with our clients and the community
Another special part of the Community Day was partnering with our clients (CCC), the end-users of one of our current projects (Banks Avenue School), and an organisation that has done a fantastic job of supporting the community in the decade since the quake (AvON).
“What we did on our Community Day was about ‘creating what matters for future generations’. We were able to engage with young students from Banks Avenue Primary School to help them realise their vision, support a charitable pre-school, and help create an environment that will be enjoyed by generations of Cantabrians to come,” says Josh.
Rob Shelton, Christchurch City Council Red Zone Team Leader, says it was great to see so many different organisations come together in support of the community on this important day.
“I believe the work done collaboratively by WSP, Banks Avenue School, Avon Ōtākaro Network and the Christchurch City Council on this significant day demonstrated what can be achieved when people unite around a common goal,” he says.
Hayley Guglietta, Avon Ōtākaro Network (AvON) spokesperson, agrees and says removing those last little traces of rubble is a significant step to help the community move forward from the disaster to the long-term recovery and regeneration.
“It was great to see the collaboration between corporates, council and community all working together on such an important day. Evan Smith one of the founders of the Avon Ōtākaro Network and the River of Flowers passed away last year. He had fought hard for this type of partnership and would have been so proud of what occurred,” says Hayley.