The Rockefeller Foundation has named Christchurch as one of the world’s 33 resilient cities.
Three years ago, Christchurch experienced a sequence of earthquakes, which included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. The initial earthquake had a devastating effect on residential suburbs affected by liquefaction and lateral spread. Hundreds of commercial buildings have been demolished and thousands of homes have had to be rebuilt. Extensive damage was caused to schools and hospitals, and essential infrastructure. Yet, the city was able to re-establish essential functions quickly. The economy did not suffer as would be expected, due to the well-planned location of revenue-generating activities. The aftershocks continue today—the city has experienced more than 12,000 since 2010. And residents’ mind-set has changed following the shared experience. The city and its people are an example of a city “bouncing back.” Developing a resilience plan is a priority for the city’s recovery so communities, buildings and infrastructure and systems are better prepared to withstand catastrophic events.
Those of us who visit occasionally have some understanding of the challenges faced by, and still facing, the city.
But only those who live there can appreciate what the city and its people have gone, and continue to go, through.
You can not blame those who have decided to move elsewhere. But nor can you fail to admire those who have stayed and are doing their best to rebuild the city, not just in a physical sense but as a community.
Their resilience is an inspiration.
The Loan and Merc, which is also known as Fleur’s Other Place*, is housed in an old warehouse in Oamaru’s historic precinct.
However, the restaurant isn’t the only tenant in the building. Upstairs the New Zealand Whisky Company, is maturing 400 barrels of whisky two of which have won world recognition:
New Zealand has blitzed the field at a United States Whisky Olympiad, in a boost to the region’s burgeoning whisky-making credentials. Two rare whiskies from the New Zealand Whisky Collection won gold medals at the Mid West Whisky Olympics in Michigan, outperforming some of the world’s most revered whiskies from Scotland, Ireland and Canada.
The 10-year-old Dunedin DoubleWood, which is available in Australia through Dan Murphy’s, was crowned World’s Best Blended Whisky. Silver went to Canada’s Crown Royal and bronze to Jamesons of Ireland.
And the 21 year old South Island Single Malt whisky was named World’s Best Single Malt in the same competition, beating the Silver Cross from Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery and Scotland’s Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve.
The New Zealand Whiskey Collection comprises 400 barrels of stock from the country’s last distillery which closed in the 1990s. It has since been maturing in a South Island seaside warehouse. Spokesman Greg Ramsay said the wins were a massive endorsement of its quality.
“For the Dunedin Doublewood and South Island Single Malt to beat some of the best whiskies in the world in this competition is testament to their pure, premium ingredients and the craftsmanship with which they were made,” Mr Ramsay said.
“New Zealand is starting to take its rightful place as a producer of some of the world’s great whiskies.”
* Called Fleur’s Other Place because it’s run by Fleur Sullivan of Fleurs Place fame.
Hat tip: Oamaru Life