Invariably as I’m walking home from work I meet at least one pair of tourists struggling to find their way around the outside of the red/rebuild zone. They carry a small map, and are usually looking for the Restart Mall, the Bus Station, or the Cardboard Cathedral. I’m always happy to stop and help. (I’m an informal volunteer.)
One thing that exacerbates their difficulty is the fact that many inner city street signs have disappeared, especially around Manchester and Lichfield Streets. This makes it difficult, even for locals who no longer have familiar landmarks to navigate by. Where have all the signs gone? Some one suggested that they may have been knocked off by large demolition vehicles passing by. Maybe the earthquake loosened them? Or perhaps they’ve been ‘souvenired’? Why doesn’t the City Council get them replaced?
Yesterday afternoon I met an Asian couple who were trying to find the Information Centre. I explained that the easiest way was straight down Gloucester Street, which was marked as red zone “no go” on the map they carried. I also explained to them that as it was after 5pm the Information Centre was likely to be closed and they would need to wait for the next morning. I couldn’t bear to send them to walk a mile only to find they were too late and I hope they found the encounter with a friendly local useful.
“It’s hard when you are on your own
to navigate the ‘rebuild’ zone.”