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adversity Architecture Christchurch Moeraki Oamaru

April 29, 2013 … rocks to steam punk

After getting lost in the tiny town of Moeraki the previous night, I enjoyed a good sleep there.

Better still, I awoke to a very pretty dawn, though it warned of worse weather to come.

Moeraki dawn
This harbour offers minimal shelter and the people who work from here are a hardy breed.

This scene of the fishing harbour was taken by me, in my pyjamas, from the balcony of the excellent motel unit at the Moeraki Holiday Park.Isn’t that a view to wake to?

Some people were obviously up earlier than I was, and you can see them sitting on that launch at the jetty.

Moeraki Boulders
U+You can only hope to offer a different view of these accretions.

Of course it would not be respectable to be in the area and not to look at the famed boulders. My problem with these things is that at least ten million photographers have been here before me … what is left unsaid?  Still, I gave it a try.

Oamaru stone is a joy to see
The Church of St Luke

From there we passed through Oamaru as the town was just waking up. To me the joy of Oamaru is its splendid architecture, and that lovely honey coloured stone. None of the dour greys of Dunedin.  A nice example is St Luke’s Anglican Church. I chose it because it was the only one I could find with no car parked in front of it.

Steam punk motorcycle
We came and left before this place opened.

If you want to know what “Steam Punk” is, then “Google is your friend”. Someone in Oamaru has decided to make a tourist attraction centred around this bizarre notion, and the exhibit I have captured here is based around two full-sized farm tractor wheels. This thing is huge.

Around behind the “Steam Punk Headquarters” is the locomotive shed where some fine restoration is being done. However, my eye was drawn to some remains that are beyond restoration, and which will be left as they are. It seems that in an attempt to control erosion around the harbour, the New Zealand Government Railway allowed some of its obsolete locomotives to be used as landfill. Unfortunately the sea was stronger than the hopes of the planners, and they were immersed from the 1930s until 2009 when they were retrieved and given to museums at Waitara and Oamaru.  This is probably the remains of Uc366, complete with embedded marine life.

Given and then reclaimed from the sea
Rust and barnacles

We passed through the Victorian precinct which was just coming to life for the day, and I enjoyed the guilty Southern pleasure of a cheese roll made with garlic butter. Mmmm.

We were staying the night with my old school friend and brother-in-law, and his wife in Rolleston, so we did a flying trip into the city. Christchurch is a heartbreak. I won’t do disaster tourism, but prefer to concentrate on the emergent new life. What we see here is the front wall of the new “temporary cathedral … the one with the shipping containers as a base wall, and cardboard tubes as major structural members. It turns out that the tubes needed to be reinforced with timber to meet local engineering specifications. However, this building is estimated to have a life of fifty years. I quite like it and in my view it is more respectable than spending $220 million to restore the old one as it was.  But then I am neither a member of the Anglican cathedral parish of Christchurch,  nor a Cantabrian, so I don’t get a vote.

The controversial "carboard cathedral"
My impressions are positive so far.

We enjoyed our afternoon in Christchurch, despite so many lost memories.

 

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