Three Years On

Today is the anniversary of the initial earthquake that struck Canterbury on 4 September 2010. This also makes it an anniversary of sorts for UC CEISMIC, since it was this event which sparked both the idea and need for a digital archive documenting Canterbury's experiences.

Three years on from that date UC CEISMIC has eleven consortium partners and a wide range of content partners and contributors to a digital archive that contains over 40,000 unique items relating to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

These items help to tell the story of Christchurch over the last three years by documenting the immediate response to the earthquakes, the damage and destruction it caused, the return to everyday life in a broken city, and the gradual rebuild.

Life in Christchurch is not always easy these days. There is still a lot of damaged infrastructure, many holes and gaps in the city landscape, and a limited number of venues for art and entertainment.  While three years may seem like a long time, we are still in the beginning stages of the Christchurch rebuild. Many people's houses are still damaged, and there are hundreds of buildings that need to come down before something can be built in their place.

In many ways, the UC CEISMIC programme is also still in its beginning phases. Three years on, many of the files we are adding to the archive still relate directly to the days after the September and February earthquakes. Each week we are approached by new people or organisations with material they would like us to store, and we are continuously on the lookout for new sources, particularly ones with a perspective not already documented in our archive.

We know there are many more stories out there in the community, and we'd like to help tell them both for people now and in the future. Although frustrating and challenging at times, it is exciting to see how Christchurch has coped and changed over the past three years. It seems like every week something new is opened, or a new piece of art is unveiled, and there are new possibilities that help balance the incredible loss Christchurch has faced. Despite the challenges and the huge amount of work that is still to come, the messages in our archive are overwhelmingly positive. Christchurch people are in it for the long haul, and we think documenting that experience will be of considerable value.


Images from the UC CEISMIC Digtial Archive by (clockwise from top left): Jared Cantlon (CC-BY-NC 3.0), BeckerFraser Photos (CC-BY-NC), Jennifer Middendorf (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0), Bettina Evans (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0), Jennifer Middendorf (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0), Bettina Evans (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0)