Isn't this what everyone associates with spring in Christchurch?
The Vision of our Early Settlers
The thing which Christchurch does so well is spring. Daffodils fluttering and dancing in the breeze, the froth of pale pink blossom around Hagley Park, was all a part of the vision of our forefathers.
We have them to thank for their vision and foresight.
Imagine how it must have felt 170 years ago, landing on this vast bare and swampy plain covered with mostly tough flax and tussock. After months of sailing over rough seas to an unknown land on the other side of the world they found nothing like the 'green and pleasant land' they had left behind.
Make any wonder they dreamt of transforming this alien land into something resembling home. A vision which was achieved with much blood sweat and tears - the vision on which we pride ourselves and enjoy today. And perhaps all too often take for granted. The historical significance of this vision of an english woodland makes Hagley Park sacrosanct and therefore most important that it should be kept intact by later generations.
All the more reason to regard it as a political act of vandalism when almost a third of this historic
woodland was ordered to be demolished by insensitive and soulless politicians after the Christchurch earthquakes. In the interests of expediency, part of this historic woodland was demolished, along with much of the rest of our city under special powers brought in after the earthquakes. They cared not for the vision of their forefathers or for the sadness and grief so many of it's citizens who were suffering after the trauma of the earthquakes. They took it upon themselves to violate the woodland thus adding to the grief by cutting down many of the treasured 150 year old oaks, beeches and other deciduous trees, without consulting us - the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to whom this woodland belongs.
To them, it was the cheapest and easiest way to erect much needed hospital buildings, no matter that it encroached on the woodland of sacrosanct Hagley Park. The need for a new hospital building is not disputed - but cutting down part of this historic woodland to accomodate it, when there was other land available certainly is!
It goes to show what little regard and understanding these politicians had for the history of Christchurch, for nature, and for the sadness many citizens would feel by the destruction of such a loved part of their heritage. This is the sort of thing which happens in China under a totalitarian government.
Are we much better here?
Notice the contrast in the 2 images shown above illustrating the hospital building as a real intrusion into the Daffodil Woodland.
It's the work of unscrupulous politicians who took advantage of their special powers while people were still traumatised after the earthquakes. Pulling a swifty over their people, they rushed it through secretly with no consultation when they knew they could get away with it. The first I knew of it was when I happened to be walking in the park on a day that chainsaws were at work and was horrified to see such a huge chunk of woodland being destroyed. None of the workmen wanted to talk about it and I just burst into tears at the wanton vandalism of this beautiful place, in the midst of such trauma and damage from ongoing aftershocks. But this wasn't nature causing the mayhem - it was man!
The result of this wanton destruction is a huge loss of a part of our uninterrupted woodland to be replaced by a truncated view, rudely interrupted by an ugly hospital building which destroys the serenity of the green woodland of Hagley Park. Which other city in New Zealand has a natural haven like this within walking distance - another world where nature dominates, away from the hustle and bustle of the city which is so cherished and valued by it's citizens. It should never have been compromised in this way.
And it was all so indecently rushed!
Soon after the sad day I witnessed the destruction of the woodland, my son was rushed into hospital seriously ill. So I was at the hospital everyday visiting him, at the same time witnessing the excavations for the new hospital where the woodland had been demolished. All day every day 24/7 there was vast amounts of water being pumped out of the excavated site, and gushing into the Avon river. It seemed there was a 'lake' under the site where the woodland had been. How could they build on top of all that water!! Sure enough, 9 years later this new hospital is still not being fully used due to instability of the building!!