Christchurch & Shipping Containers.

As Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand continues its recovery from the devastating earthquake of 2011, this story stands out as an example of what a city and its people can do when faced with what seemed like overwhelming challenges. We've called our story "100% Inspired" because these are the words that best describe what took place here in 2011. We hope you're inspired as well.
Christchurch Earthquake Recovery

After the 2011 quake, city business owners quickly banded together and agreed that it was important for the future of Christchurch to project a "business as usual" attitude. They decided to achieve this by urgently creating a temporary central sales precinct, a vibrant retail space that would be the first step in the long term re-construction of their city. 

The problem was that after the quake, 80% of the downtown area had been demolished. There was simply nothing, not even a building, they could use to make a start.

So, in a decision that raised some eyebrows at the time, 61 shipping containers were imported and these were adapted and used to create a temporary container shopping mall. The results, as you'll see from our photos were amazing. It took just 8 weeks to construct, then they were ready to go and project Re:Start was launched.

Re:Start has been a huge success and grown steadily, increasing from 27 businesses at the opening in 2011, to well over 50 businesses today. In addition market stalls, street performers and buskers have brought their colorful influences to the project, making it a popular meeting place in the city.

It's now one of the main tourist attractions of Christchurch, where visitors can pause and admire the ingenuity, the creativity and the courage shown by the people of Christchurch in taking this first step to re-build their city. In this case, based on shipping containers! 

Update: On a visit yesterday (31 December 2016) it was clear that as more retail space becomes available in the city, the Re:Start project is starting to wind down, with some business already re-located.

Designed as a reusable facility, the Re:Start shipping container mall will eventually be “unpacked”, transported and used elsewhere.

In the background to this photo, some of the new Christchurch skyline can be seen.

Christchurch is included on many of our itineraries, like this one, the 15 day Alpine Wonders.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Sep 15, 2016