Last night I went to a farewell dinner for 2 of my work colleagues here in Christchurch at Winnie Bagoes. It was a fantastic relaxed night with great people and great pizza!
I decided to walk back to my B&B from the restaurant, and realised my route took me through the red zone of central Christchurch.
I found out later that the cordon through this area was only lifted 26 days ago on June 30th 2013. It had been continuously staffed by soldiers for the 857 days since the city centre was closed, following the deadly February 22nd 2011 earthquake.
During the day these areas are filled with activity; cranes, workmen, trucks reversing, jackhammer noises, people shouting, but last night it was quiet and as I walked, the streets had a still watchfulness to them, they bore witness to the last 3 years here.