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On 22 February Canterbury residents will come together to commemorate an event that could arguably be said has come to define us as a people.

Five years can feel like a very long time when you are battling frustrations in your own personal recovery journey and I know from my own career working in the mental health that international research shows years three to seven are some of the most challenging for psychological and social recovery. If you or someone you know still needs some help please do get in touch.

But like others I speak to, I am struck by how short the five years can seem when we acknowledge how much we have achieved in that time.  The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill will shift Christchurch from earthquake recovery to urban regeneration. I attended the recent opening of the Margaret Mahy Family Playground with my daughter – a great anchor project that brings families together in a positive way. It’s the latest in a long list of projects either completed or close to completion – Hagley Oval, the Bus Interchange, Earthquake Memorial and the Retail, Innovation, Avon River and Justice and Emergency Services Precincts. 

In the Waimakariri, we have also certainly come far. 2015 was a year of openings and milestones as we moved forward. Looking ahead, we can anticipate a number of exciting possibilities around the future use of our residential red zones. Some wonderful ideas have been put forward and I urge everyone to have their say on the preliminary draft Waimakariri Residential Red Zone Recovery Plan. The plan looks at some land-use options for these areas and invites public comment. We might not have been able to anticipate the Canterbury earthquake events but we can be part of shaping how we want our community to look going forward.

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