web analytics

The Christchurch Commons

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, August 17th, 2016 - 18 comments
Categories: christchurch earthquake, Conservation, Environment, sustainability, water - Tags: , , , , ,

Ko au te wai ko te wai te au
I am the water, the water is me

Christchurch Dilemmas is a rolling series of documentaries about issues facing Christchurch five years on. Made by independent, award-winning filmmaker Gerard Smyth with backing from NZ On Air and RNZ, the first series asks what to do about the Red Zone, the 440 ha/18 km stretch of land cleared after the quakes that can’t be built on. It presents five short (2 – 4 min) videos on proposals for the area that flows around the Avon/Ōtākaro River in Central and Eastern Christchurch.

red zone map

“The best return on the land would be to return it to the people”

Regenerate is a council, central government and iwi represented organisation set up to replace CERA, and is tasked with consulting the local communities on what to do with the Red Zone land. Ultimately the decision remains with a Crown-owned company and the government is expecting some financial return. Leaving aside the extent to which the people will have an actual say (and the politics involved), the projects presented here are inspiring examples of what NZ is really capable of, given the chance.

Despite the incessant pressure from the neoliberal revolution to commercialise all aspects of life, New Zealanders are still at heart people of the place they belong to, and it’s encouraging to see this rising again in places where life has been stripped bare to make obvious what is really important. Given the opportunity, people care for the land they live in. We still have this. It’s not too late.

In the past few years I have been hearing from Christchurch friends about the re-emerging landscape in the Red Zone, where nature is asserting itself and reminding the people that we are part of the natural world. Wild spaces for kids to play in, foraging, people spontaneously replanting the commons. So it was a pleasure to see the low aerial footage showing large areas where the removal of the built landscape has created a negative space waiting amongst the trees that miraculously survived the demolitions, and then to see all five proposals focused on nature.

red zone trees lge

The film project is also intended as an invitation to join the conversation. Amongst all the trauma of the quakes and of the government response, one of the more encouraging things to emerge has been the voices of Christchurch people with a sense of place. This comes through in the videos and website too, with long time residents, young kids from the Red Zone, and Tangata Whenua all speaking.

“There’s lots of places to build houses in Christchurch, let’s do something else with it”

“The river is starting to tell us what it wants to do. It’s regenerating in a really unique and special way”.

I haven’t felt so inspired and full of hope about the city since, well, forever! At last, our voices, our people! E hoa, kia a kaha, kia ū, kia manawanui! E te rangatira, tēnā koe!”

In a time when NZ has spent decades watching our waterways being destroyed and are only now just starting to stand up to fight that, these stories are clear beacons of what we can do next.

Here are the five videos,

The Introduction video.

“Communities are already taking ownership”

Mahinga Kai

“In terms of the Red Zone we have to stop thinking of just the land… it’s the land and the water… if we think from that perspective the people are going to prosper”.

Ngāi Tuāhuriri are the hapū of the area and talk in this video about one of the central wetland catchments in the Red Zone, its historical place as a food basket between the Ōtākaro and Heathcote Rivers and the potential for restoration. ‘Mahi nga kai’ means ‘work the food’, and represents a complex set of values, understandings and cultural practices around resources use, and includes being fed in its broadest sense), . Much of this project is already under way.

East Lake

East Lake is a proposed recreation reserve, with an artesian-fed lake separate from the river. It is focussed on water sports, both professional and recreational, with recreation beyond traditional sports e.g. family barbecues and swimming. It aims for high water quality (so above ‘wadeable’) and would also include the surrounding land for things like walking tracks. It intends to connect in with the other projects.

Water for Life

“I would love to see something that is here that celebrates the role that water has to play in our lives and how important that is to us”

A NZ version of the Eden Project. My least favourite project because of its inherent commercial focus and high cost (too Think Big), the likelihood that locals will have to pay for access and because eco-tourism is an oxymoron and hugely problematic in terms of climate change. Building large infrastructure and buildings in the Red Zone seems unwise.

Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park

“It’s for the people of the city”

“Nature can so some of this itself if we let it”

Encompassing an area that starts in the CBD, the forest park would run along the river corridor all the way to Brighton.  It would provide space for walking, biking, picnicking, camping, being in nature, and would support the emerging landscape that is already recovering from its farming past. An ecological anchor project, very low cost, that would work with existing native trees and current regeneration from seedlings. Established exotics trees would be protected as part of the reality of an urban forest.

Waitākari Eco-sanctuary

Christchurch is the largest city in NZ without an eco-sanctuary. A predator-proof 7km fence surrounding an area that includes Travis Wetland and part of the Red Zone. A wildlife bridge that spans the highway would join the two areas to increase viability of wildlife populations – kiwi, weka, takahe, robins, tomtits, saddlebacks, kaka, kakariki, whio, fern birds, as well as insects and lizards that would also spread out and colonise the rest of the restored Red Zone and beyond.

 

I don’t know how these five projects were chosen, and there are some obvious gaps. I would like to see all projects audited through a climate change mitigation and preparation filter. There’s been support for years to create food growing, urban farming and foraging corridors within the Red Zone. I also wonder what’s happened to the low income communities from the Eastern Suburbs that were largely ignored in the quake aftermath. Are their voices being heard here or are the people with resources dominating the conversation? Where are the regeneration plans that are socially inclusive?

But the projects here nevertheless present a kind of hope, that while the world falls apart people are increasingly willing to do some of the right things. We are a nation of gardeners, and it’s fitting that Christchurch finds new ways to reinvent and restore itself as the Garden City.

18 comments on “The Christchurch Commons ”

  1. adam 1

    Great post weka,

    Still not hearing much from the Eastern Suburbs – would be good to hear what they think.

  2. The perfect Commons to Grow 🙂

    • weka 2.1

      Yes!

      Check this out from the CCC,

      An Edible Park is Council land, where edible plants are grown, cared for and enjoyed by the community in a way that complements the other uses of the park. Often fruit or nut trees are dotted around the park, along borders, pathways or in clusters to add diversity and amenity for park users. Plants can be harvested by anyone, but the plants must be cared for over time by the surrounding community. This is different to a community garden because the land is not formally occupied by a particular community group. It is simply a park that incorporates edible plants in its landscape.

      Many parks in Christchurch can become Edible Parks. If you would like to grow and care for edible trees on a Council park near you, contact your local Council community advisor.

      http://www.ccc.govt.nz/environment/edible-christchurch/food-foraging-and-edible-parks/

      I like these people too,

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “Made by independent, award-winning filmmaker Gerard Smith”

    Actually it’s Smyth.

  4. Cynicaljester 4

    I live in the east, just outside the cbd but grew up aranui/new Brighton. Not only is the east completely forgotten by decision makers (Brownlee has been particularly spiteful) including utter failure Liane Dalziel. Eastern Chch had a great mix of people now it’s a ghetto. All the businesses are struggling because six years basic infrastructure still hasn’t been restored walk anywhere soon you’ll see shops, houses, roads which have been left in the exact state they were in post quake. Decile one schools being merged into super schools with hundred students to a teacher cos they’ve give up. People outside of the east won’t come because the roads are munted and will damage there car, nothing to do once you get here and many people jus don’t feel safe violence has gone majorly up. International Visitors think it’s the slums, it’s the only area in the city without roofed bus stops. When people say the rebuild is nearly I think are you out of your mind? It has barely begun.

  5. Swarm through the Red Zone, planting like there’s no tomorrow.

  6. mauī 6

    I like the Mahinga Kai and Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park ideas best. Both are about restoring the ecology of the area and creating a healthier environment for everyone.

    Least favourite is creating the man made lake. The biggest beneficiaries of that are those who are competitive rowers/kayakers/canoers, many recreationalists would be happy to paddle the river instead. I don’t see families going down to a sports lake for a swim, its more fun just to go in the river if it’s clean enough. Then there’s the cost which is probably going to be tens of millions.

  7. Is there still grass growing in the Red Zone? Lawn grass? Why?

    • weka 7.1

      I’m guessing that some of it has been kept in a park like state, and that they also did a big clean up in the lead up to the big plan. I heard that there were lots of good foraging places for a long time and then they started spraying (maybe last year?). Crazy but compatible with the culture I guess. And ‘easier’ to do something with the land if you keep it clear depending on what you intend. I like the negative space amongst the trees but it’s bizarre that this far on those spaces even exist.

  8. Empty spaces will fill. It’s the seed sources that dictate the makeup of the regrowth. Thoughtful regenerators will supply seeds if there’s no natural supply. Squirrels bury nuts, many of which grow into nut bearing trees. Squirrel away, Cantabrians!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism Industry Aotearoa Conference
    speech to Tourism Industry Aotearoa annual summit Te Papa,  Wellington Introduction Nau mai, haere mai Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, Ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou. Thank you Tourism Industry Aotearoa for hosting today’s Summit. In particular, my acknowledgements to TIA Chair Gráinne Troute and Chief Executive Chris Roberts. You ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets announced as Government’s second market study
    The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries.   “Supermarkets are an integral part of our communities and economy, so it’s important to ensure that Kiwis are getting a fair deal at the checkout,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Masks to be worn on Auckland public transport and all domestic flights
    Masks will need to be worn on all public transport in Auckland and in and out of Auckland and on domestic flights throughout the country from this Thursday, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said today. “I will be issuing an Order under the COVID-19 Response Act requiring the wearing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand signs Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
    Increase to New Zealand’s GDP by around $2 billion each year Increase opportunities for NZ exporters to access regional markets Cuts red tape and offers one set of trade rules across the Asia Pacific region New government procurement, competition policy and electronic commerce offers NZ exporters increased business opportunities Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister acknowledges students as exams begin
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has recognised the extraordinary challenges students have faced this year, ahead of NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams which begin on Monday. “I want to congratulate students for their hard work during a year of unprecedented disruption, and I wish students all the best as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister meets with key ASEAN and East Asia Summit partners
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today attended the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit and discussed with Leaders a range of shared challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, including: The ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic; The importance of working collectively to accelerate economic recovery; and Exploring further opportunities for partners to work more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Veterans Affairs Summit held in Korea
    A Ministerial Summit on Veterans’ Affairs was held in the Republic of Korea this week. Ministers with veteran responsibilities were invited from all 22 countries that had been part of the United Nations Forces during the Korean War (1950 – 1953). The Summit marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clear direction set for the education system, skills prioritised
    The Government has released a set of priorities for early learning through to tertiary education and lifelong learning to build a stronger, fairer education system that delivers for all New Zealanders. “The election delivered a clear mandate from New Zealanders to accelerate our plan to reduce inequalities and make more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • A Progressive Agenda
    Speech to the Climate Change + Business Conference, November 12, 2020 Tena koutou katoa Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. It is great to see us all come together for a common cause: to redefine our future in the face of unprecedented times.  Covid-19 and climate change are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Wellington Pasifika Business Awards
    Thank you for having me join with you as we celebrate the success of Pacific businesses tonight, and recognise the resilient and innovative entrepreneurs who lead them. Equally important to me is, that we are also able tonight to offer up our gratitude to those leaders who have organised and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Commemorative address at Act of Remembrance for Armistice Day
    Tuatahi māku  Ka mihi tu ki a koe Pita E pīkauria ana i te mana o Ngā tūpuna o te whenua nei. Thank you Bernadette for your warm introduction. I would also like to reflect on your acknowledgments and welcome Peter Jackson, Taranaki Whānui; Members of the National War Memorial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago