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

  • Govt to protect jobs and businesses with extra support
    In-principle decision to extend wage subsidy to support businesses and protect jobs Support will be nationwide in recognition of Auckland’s position in NZ economy and the impact of Level 2 Mortgage deferral scheme to be extended to support households The Government is taking action to support businesses and protect jobs ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Does the Nation a Disservice
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters today called for National Party and Opposition leader Judith Collins to stop undermining democracy. “New Zealanders are sadly being fed a steady stream of misinformation about the pre-election period from the National Party,” said Mr Peters. “Its effect is to sow doubt about the legitimacy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at the graduation of Wing 340
    Graduation of Wing 340 2pm, 13 August 2020, The Royal New Zealand Police College [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Introduction Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to be here today to celebrate the graduation of Wing 340. Let us begin by acknowledging the presence of Coalition Government colleague, Police Minister the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More Police deployed for COVID efforts
    More Police are being deployed to the frontline to help manage the COVID response, after the graduation today of 56 new officers. “The ceremonies for the graduation of Wing 340 at the Royal New Zealand Police College were trimmed to take account of new Alert Level 2 restrictions in Wellington,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Transitional housing provides much needed support for Taumarunui whānau
                                                                     Transitional housing provides much needed support for Taumarunui whānau   New emergency and transitional homes will help ease a housing shortage in Taumarunui and provide whānau with much needed support, say Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta and Whānau Ora Minister, Peeni Henare.  The Ministers officially opened five two-bedroom units ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items
    Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. The proposals are to phase-out: some hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New opportunities for Kōpū marine facilities
    A commercial and industrial site in Thames-Coromandel will receive $8.2 million to revamp its marine-servicing infrastructure and create new economic development opportunities, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. This project is being supported from the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside in Budget 2020 to kick-start the post COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PM comments on Auckland COVID-19 case
    After 102 days we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility in New Zealand. Shortly I will ask Dr Bloomfield to set out the details of the case. While we have all worked incredibly hard to prevent this scenario, we have also planned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Significant investment in Raukūmara Pae Maunga to prevent Raukūmara forest collapse
    An iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island and boost employment opportunities for whānau, particularly rangatahi/young people, will receive $34 million funding, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced. “Raukūmara Pae Maunga is a partnership with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New partnership central to delivering more Māori housing
    Government agencies and partners are working closer together to provide more Māori Housing through the Te MAIHI o te Whare Māori – the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI). MAIHI is a kaupapa Māori approach that drives a system change to give effect and impact on Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Manawatū Gorge replacement highway drives forward
    Site work is soon to begin on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, the project to replace the former SH3 route through the Manawatū Gorge, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Phil Twyford was today in Woodville at the signing of a formal agreement by members of the Alliance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific Ministers meet to discuss regional economic priorities
    The Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) begins today and will focus on the major economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific.  FEMM is an important congregation of Economic Ministers and senior officials from around the region, and for the first time, the annual meeting will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Formal apology and payment to George Nepata
    Cabinet has approved a formal apology and ex gratia payment to former soldier George Nepata, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. This payment is to recognise the New Zealand Defence Force’s failure to provide Mr Nepata with a safe system of work in April 1989 when, as a result of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Report into Iain Lees-Galloway’s expenditure
    A report undertaken by Ministerial Services into Iain Lees-Galloway’s ministerial expenditure has found no evidence of any inappropriate transactions or spending. Ministerial Services undertook a line by line review of all his expenditure, including staff and spouse expenses for the period 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.  “I commissioned ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed isolation charges to start 11 August
    Managed isolation charges for returnees will come into force from 12.01am Tuesday 11th August, after they passed their last cabinet milestone today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. “The new charging system balances the rights of New Zealanders to return home and helps reduce pressure on the managed isolation and quarantine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Update on New Zealand and the Cook Islands travel bubble
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. Negotiations on the text of an ‘Arrangement to Facilitate Quarantine-Free Travel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • One-stop ‘jobs and training’ shop goes live
    The Government has launched a new online, phone and onsite service to help New Zealanders connect to a range of employment support and products for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, announced Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. Connected.govt.nz is a one-stop-shop for jobseekers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • MSD security guards to be paid Living Wage
    Security guards contracted to the Ministry of Social Development will be paid at least the Living Wage from next month supporting the Government’s commitment towards fair pay and employment conditions, announced Minister for  Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.   “MSD was  among the first government agencies to pay its employees the living ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New strategy to ensure nature thrives
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today launched Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy - a way forward that envisions Aotearoa New Zealand as a place where ecosystems are healthy and resilient, and people embrace the natural world. “Many of New Zealand’s plants and wildlife species ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Provider Languages Fund will support Pacific Wellbeing approach
    “Pacific languages, cultures and identity are essential to the health, wellbeing and lifetime success of our Pacific peoples and their communities in Aotearoa. The strength and resilience of Pacific Aotearoa is not only vital to their own prosperity but integral to the prosperity of all New Zealanders, and is particularly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: More funding for schools and boost to construction sector
    ·       $38 million to help schools cover unexpected costs related to COVID-19 ·       $69 million upgrade for online learning ·       $107 million contingency funding to support school construction suppliers facing additional costs due to the lockdown. The Government is releasing $214 million from the COVID-19 response and recovery fund to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Stay safe on the tracks – Rail Safety Week
    Despite the Government installing safety upgrades around the country, people should still take care around rail crossings, said Transport Minister Phil Twyford launching Rail Safety Week. Phil Twyford said installing safety infrastructure is crucial, but we are encouraging people to be more careful around trains too. “We’re making good progress ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government backs Manawatū social housing project
    The Government is providing a cash injection to help Palmerston North City Council complete a programme to provide 78 social housing units for vulnerable tenants. The $4.7 million to build 28 units in the Papaioea Place redevelopment comes from the $3 billion set aside for infrastructure in the Government’s COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula
    A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announced Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in Canterbury today. “This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major investment for indoor sports in Hawke’s Bay
    A Government grant of $6.4 million will expand the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale with new indoor courts of national standard. “The project is likely to take 18 months with approximately 300 people employed through the process,” Grant Robertson said. “The expansion will increase the indoor court space up to 11 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New infrastructure for Far North tourist town
    The Far North tourist destination of Mangonui is to receive Government funding to improve waterfront infrastructure, open up access to the harbour and improve water quality, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. A total of $6.5 million from the $3 billion set aside in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup
    The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment
    Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. “The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch
    Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF supports Hawke’s Bay community and environmental projects
    The Government is investing more than $1.6 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for a wide range of community and environmental projects in Hawke’s Bay, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. These announcements today are part of the Government’s commitment to supporting regional economies in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago