Christchurch Rambling

Our Favourite Stores!

With the big earthquake in February a whole heap of the best Christchurch businesses which were located within the CBD (or not) have become either inaccessible or have even been demolished. My local shops spent two months as a half-demolished pile of rubble; but within a couple of days of being cleared the site is pumping with new building activity – I’ve been making visits to Red Chili Thai food and can’t wait for the T-Bakery to re-open…

Some of Christchurch’s class-leading stores were caught up in the quake – Photo and Video in Merivale narrowly escaped being completed crushed like so many other Merivale stores, but after a substantial clean-up NZ’s absolutely BEST Photo and Camera store is once again trading at their old location.

Both Piko Wholefoods and the Canterbury Cheesemongers weren’t quite so lucky; Piko’s gorgeous historic brick building and the Cheesemongers entire block both torn down post-February. However Piko is now back and going strong just a km or so away though on Stanmore Road in Richmond, and the Canterbury Cheesemongers are now the sole company trading from the Christchurch Arts Center, next to where the Dux de Lux was previously trading on Montreal Street.

Lastly my very favorite store – Canterbury Cycle Trading; was unfortunately demolished after the quake made their historic, high-ceiling premise too dangerous to enter. Keith Guthrie has been trading for over 30 years and had a simply amazing collection of bicycles within the store, a one of a kind in New Zealand as it was the only store south of Taupo that specialized in Cycle Touring, and comfortable, practical bicycles… plus they have a top-notch repair and service team. Word on the street is that they did actually manage to save all the stock and have now relocated to 24 Bath Street; which is just behind the Warehouse South City.

There’s so little information about were some of these stores have gone – so if there’s a favorite store you’d like to mention, please PLEASE comment on this post.


“The Dux de Lux: The Unofficial Cultural Centre of Christchurch” by Dr. Sharon McIver

The Christchurch Eathquake Community Journal have posted an article by prominent local music journalist Dr. Sharon McIver on her experiences at the Dux de Lux, in light of their current plight. It’s a good read for those that can (and/or want to) remember the 90’s!

“The Dux de Lux: The Unofficial Cultural Centre of Christchurch” by Dr. Sharon McIver


Volcano Cafe RIP

Volcano RIP 01/01/1988-22/2/2011 from Jason Larraman on Vimeo.

Beautiful but tragic time-lapse photography of the Volcano Cafe being destroyed.


Rose Quartz: Christchurch EQ Relief Comp

RQ EQ '11
RQ EQ '11

Awesome blog Rose Quartz have put together a compilation to raise funds for Christchurch in the wake of the earthquake. Rose Quartz have a couple of ex local lads on their writing team, so this is all jolly good stuff. Plus the comp features material from local outfits like Wet Wings, the Canterbury Rams, Mount Pleasant, Shocking Pinks etc, plus the mighty Thurston Moore. Keen! here’s the blurb, and click the link for the download at the bottom:


Christchurch Venues, Part 2

Al’s Bar – 31 Dundas [Feb 27th] [Feb 28th] [March 2nd]

[March 6th]

Justin Townes Earle was scheduled to perform at Al’s Bar on March 24, Michelle Shocked was due to play at The Bedford on April 15 and Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama were scheduled for the Town Hall on April 30.

All of these shows have been cancelled.

A week later, as the enormity of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch has well and truly sunk in, Steve Marshall and his bandmates in Left Or Right are in sombre mood as they reflect on that city’s loss.

“That was absolutely crazy, eh?” Marshall says. “Who would have thought just as you rang that had happened up there?

“I’d forgotten that Logan (Hampton, brother of Left Or Right guitarist Callum Hampton) and (flatmate) Crispy were both up there during it.

“They were just about to load out their lighting rig from Al’s Bar after doing lights for the Melvins show the night before. They never got their gear out but managed to get back to Dunedin that night. They were very spooked and in shock.”

Christchurch Art Gallery – Worcester Boulevard

Was being used as the Earthquake media center. Appears to not be damaged.

COCA Gallery – 66 Gloucester St

Staff from the Centre of Contemporary Art are optimistic about the extent of damage to their collection. Established in 1883 to promote the arts in Christchurch, CoCA has a collection of about 200 works, mostly paintings, dating from the early 20th century to the present. The centre’s 1968 building is intact, but about 25 per cent of works in both the permanent gallery collection and the dealer gallery have fallen off the walls, says business manager Tony Dann.

Christchurch Rambling

Christchurch Venues Post February Earthquake

The February 22nd earthquake had a hugely detrimental effect on many of Christchurch’s music, art and performance spaces. As a lot of these venues are center either within the badly damaged and inaccessible red-zone of the CBD, or in the earthquake epicenter of Lyttelton.

I’m attempting to put together a run down of any information available on each venue – if you have any information to add, stories to post or pictures to share please comment/contact me.

So far I’ve been able to collect the following pieces of info:

The Dux de Lux – Arts Center, 41 Hereford Street

(march 1st)

Richard Sinke, the director of Dux de Lux – a restaurant, bar and brewery on the corner of Christchurch’s Hereford St and Montreal St – said engineers were moving through the premises last night. “Fortunately, the Arts Centre [where Dux de Lux is located] seems to have got through okay,” said Sinke, who has been involved with the business for 32 years. (March 2nd)

Scores of Christchurch residents with affection for Dux de Lux in Christchurch, including the band Opshop, were stopping by Dux de Lux in Queenstown, duty manager Vanessa Hartnell said yesterday. (march 14th)

Dux de Lux owner Richard Sinke said he wanted to reopen his bar “as soon as possible”.The damaged building could reopen before repairs were completed on the rest of the Arts Centre site, he said.”The Dux is the centre of hospitality in Christchurch and is the kind of place people will need when the city starts to reopen,” he said. (march 24th)

Dux de Lux owner Richard Sinke said he had not been told his tenancy would be terminated.”As a tenant of 33 years, I thought I might be informed before the media. I haven’t heard anything,” he said.

El Santo Porteno – 6 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton

No published stories. Talked to Oscar who said the building is red stickered but is up in the air whether it will be demolished. He said only the roof and parapets are damaged.

Goodbye Blue Monday

“It is with much sadness that I wish to announce that Goodbye Blue Monday is over. It is strange that something that I put my heart-and-soul into over two years has suddenly ceased to be. I think the building is still there – standing sadly with rain getting in and ruining those toilet walls I fought to keep clean and graffiti free – but the business is buggered… We created something that didn’t exist before we made it and now its over. We have started talking about Goodbye Blue Monday in the past tense.” (march 17th)

Former Christchurch mayor and business owner Gary Moore said his family bar, Goodbye Blue Monday, in Poplar Lane, had been “destroyed” in the earthquake.

“The building is all red-stickered and we cannot get in there at all.”

Moore and son Johnny said they remained committed to the “revival” of Christchurch. “We believe that the city will rise phoenix-like from the ashes.”

High Street Project – First Floor, 84 Lichfield Street

Video footage of Lichfield Street seems to show the building intact, but with badly damaged roofing. This is a very old building and I’d imagine it will probably be red…

The New Media Club – 195 Armagh St (march 8th)

‘Badly Damaged’

Physics Room – 209 Tuam Street

No published stories, but the adjoining Alice in Videoland had this: (March 18th)

‘The store’s High St premises are relatively undamaged. However, the site is one block inside the red zone.’

The Provincial Hotel– Corner of Cashel and Barbadoes Streets (March 12th)

Stephen Cohen spent four years restoring the historic Provincial Hotel, but it took only seconds to reduce it to rubble.

Yesterday, two diggers pushed over the 108-year-old building that suffered terminal damage in last month’s earthquake, collapsing the walls like a pack of cards.

Cohen bought the neglected building four years ago, spending a small fortune restoring and strengthening it, with the aim of reopening as a boutique hotel and bistro.

“We were trying to save it,” he said.

Wunderbar – London Street, Lyttelton

No published stories, reportedly fine

Christchurch Rambling

Earthquake part 2

… luckily all my flatmates, girlfriend and even house are fine (except for liqufication lines running through my section producing a small foundation crack and ruining the vege plot…) – despite this quake having a significantly larger impact than the September quake I’ve come out pretty lucky.

However Avonside is an absolute mess, and it does not appear where going to have to any of the crucial services any time soon. In fact as the days weeny on I have began to feel more isolated on the east side of town.

I’ve witnessed other areas getting their power and even water back and the police and army presence makes it feel like there is action going on, however things are very tricky over this side of town.

Not only do we lack primal facilities, due to the way Avonside and Linwood are framed by the city centres 4 Aves (which have police patrols preventing entry) and river banks (of which most bridges have been destroyed), and the fact that all schools and shops within our suburbs appear to be non-operation, its gotten a little desperate to say the least!

Thankfully things have improved in the last day, mostly due to discovering stanmore road and the supermarket on the other side in richmond being open for business. However I’ve still struggled with the lack of sewerage (its a 2km cycle to Cowle stadium for portaloos), and I’m awaiting power to be returned with baited breath…

Water has thankfully become a lot more plentiful with the opening of a huge amount of artisian wells – although they still require water to be boiled before use.

Its been tricky but I’ve really appreciated the community spirit and comradeship through these tough times. Quick visits to me friends place in St Albans have become a regular thing not only for me but a variety of our friends; indulging in their water, phone charging capabilities and yes TV coverage (odd that the people involved in earthquakes get to see so little of the footage?).

So were soldering on. Over the past 4 days I’ve trudged through 2 feet of water main flooding to visit familiy, I’ve expereinced breadline living and pined for a hot meal, and I’ve delightedly in the simple pleasures like shooting the breeze with my friends under candle light and taking a much needed spung bath… of course there are plenty of trying days ahead…

Christchurch Rambling

The 2nd Christchurch Earthquake

It’s now been 4 days since the Christchurch earthquake, you’ll have to excuse my typing as I’m still without power (or water or sewerage) so I’m posting via my android phone.

During the quake I was working in Lyttelton – Christchurch’s port town and the center of the 6.3, 5km deep quake.

I was a little lost about what to do during the shaking – I watched my co-workers hit the ground so I followed suit, before we pulled out on to the streets.

Turns out the building we were in was falling apart – along with most of Lyttelton. I saw a distraught Oscar looking over his beloved El Santo and avoided the towering, leaning Harbour Light while walking around stunned.

Possibly the only cycle-commuter in Lyttelton, i decided to brave the hills as I still hadn’t made contact with my girlfriend or family. Certain Evan’s pass would be impassable I headed around the bays taking in the views of Cass, Corsair and Pegasus before climbing over the breach.

I encountered gigantic boulders as I made my way towards Sugarloaf but was relieved to leave the port and head down towards the Canterbury plains. First stop was my grandparents in lower cashmere, relieved they were ok, they passed on news that my mum had just been there and she was heading towards my sisters. My next move then was to track down my girlfriend Johanna and then evaluate my house.

I flew across Cashmere, Barrington and Addington, overtaking the gridlocked cars and avoiding great mountains of liquification before reaching her working in Linwood. Appearing that everyone had already left I pedalled quickly across Linwood and headed home…



Johanna and I and our families all appear to be fine. I was in Lyttelton when the quake struck but it seems no one was killed that side of the hills despite the massive damage. Our thoughts go out to those that have lost family and we hope things will return to normal as soon as possible.

Chris Andrews