Skip to content

Quake City

February 26, 2015

185 Empty ChairsChristchurch is a city defined by the earthquake which struck on 22nd February 2011.

We visited Mona Vale gardens and the Cashmere Hills for a view over the city before driving down to the new Cardboard Cathedral, which describes itself as a cathedral for a city in transition.

However, the sight which struck me the most was the 185 Empty Chairs installation a short walk from the back of the Cardboard Cathedral.

This temporary work by Pete & Joyce Majendie was created in memory of the 185 people who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake, which our bus driver explained was the most expensive per capita in the world.

Each chair is different, hand painted twice and dressed with fresh carnations. Visitors are invited to select a chair to sit in and spend some time reflecting.

I felt that it would be sacriligeous to sit in the chairs which seemed to me to be occupied in the sense that they are holding space for the spirits of the departed but I did take time to read the poems displayed in the booth which listed the names of the 185.

The poem which touched  a chord for me was John O’Donohue’s ‘For Grief’, particularly the lines about entering the hearth in one’s soul once the wounds of loss have healed.

While talking to the artist on site I realised that I was already acquainted with O’Donohue’s book ‘Anam Cara’.

As I walked away from the 185 Empty Chairs the following verse came to mind:

Four years on

the city is hushed,

holding its breath

against the next

quake to strike

its fragile heart.

This was a distillation of facts thoughts that had been mulling in the back of my mind while I listened to the absence of sound throughout my stay in Christchurch.

If you are interested to find out more about the stories of the people affected by the quake visit


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

Advice on Writing, Publishing, and Book Promotion

The Task at Hand

A Writer's On-Going Search for Just the Right Words

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

The WORLD discovered

the ramblings of a backpacker exploring the world by foot

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

sheila sea

like thalassic velvet

Porkbelly Press

made in Cincinnati, Ohio

101 Books

Reading my way through Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Novels since 1923 (plus Ulysses)

Scarborough Mysteries

Crime novels set in a small coastal town on the North Yorkshire coast

Northpenninegallery's Blog

...searching for me

The Blog

Welcome to my writing world


Dark Fiction Author

A Rhyme and a Reason

original poetry by yours truly, all copyrighted.

Kerry-Ann Richardson

Crime Author, Blogger and generally nice person :-)

thirty summer

carving words out of willows


Welcome to my writing world

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Creative Writing Tips and Authorial Support from Fantasy Writer Victoria Grefer


We may see things that we don't even imagine.

%d bloggers like this: