The title of this post picks up on a remark by Phil Goff, the Leader of the Opposition, summing up what he has seen of destruction in Christchurch. Older buildings including Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches bearing the history of the city will be demolished and buried as landfill. (Can the cathedrals avoid this end? I think it a reasonable presumption to make that Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders will do all in their power to save their cathedrals, but even a 'layperson' (re engineering) such as myself can imagine that beyond external damage to the cathedrals (see link below) must lie massive internal damage to the remainder of these buildings not seen in photographs.)
Christchurch is the city of my birth and about half my upbringing from birth to adulthood. It is an amazing 'new world' city whose history bears the heritage of Europe while offering a modern, efficient place for people to live near to sea, mountains, rivers, and parks. Its climate is challenging, capable of bitter cold and immense heat generated by hot winds beginning in the Australian outback. Its culture has generated some of the great discoveries in knowledge (think Ernest Rutherford) and produced some of the greatest sportspeople New Zealand has been blessed to take onto the world stage, especially in cricket and rugby.
But that city will never be the same again. It was going to be different after 4 September 2010, but many landmarks stood tall, if damaged, after that large quake. Now many of those landmarks will go. We will have no money and little will to rebuild with replicas. Our grandchildren will not see the city my grandparents knew so well.
NZ Herald has two sites with excellent sets of photos. This one has 'before' and 'after' comparisons, including the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, and Knox Presbyterian church. This one has fifty photos, some of which include destroyed churches. (Locals may know better than me, but one without specific caption seems to be Durham Street Methodist, badly damaged in September, and now completely flattened).