Over the weekend Alice and Celia were invited to go on a rabbit hunting expedition in the Red Zone. Following the devastating earthquakes in 2011, many parts of Christchurch are no longer deemed habitable and are now known as the Red Zone.
This area is shown on the map to the right and the area we chose to explore was just through the back of Burwood Park on the north side of New Brighton Rd (indicated by the black dot on the map).
Burwood Park is your standard park, nice grassy areas, big trees and children’s play areas -surrounded by homes. As soon as you leave the park into the red zone you enter a world reminiscent of something you’d see in The Walking Dead with the odd remaining house is boarded up and signs of humans settlers who have long since moved on. Roads and foot paths still in tact but in disrepair. Street signs marking streets that have no homes left, the odd strangely left behind item such as a wheelbarrow, trolley or rubbish bin.
For the most part, our little group consisting of 5 sausage dogs + 1 honorary sausage dog and 4 humans, were the only ones in this area. We saw a handful of cyclists and one police car patrolling the area. It was eerily silent, the only sound was traffic in the distance and with it being warm, the sounds of cicadas, own footsteps and the rustle in the grass of excited doglets on the hunt for rabbits, mice and whatever they could find.
As we wandered along these now deserted streets and into some of what were previously people’s gardens, it’s really hard to imagine what it was like just a few short years ago. Nothing much is left. A few tell-tale plants that old property boundary edges including fruit trees. Within what were a few gardens we found 3 types of apples, plums, pears, peaches, blackberries and grapes all ripe for the picking.
Being responsible dog owners we all had plastic bags which we quickly repurposed for gathering this fresh produce. As we stuffed our faces like excited children. Feasting on delicious apples and succulent berries.
I also found a pile of “rubbish” which looked like garage sale leftovers – what a waste, when much of this could have been donated to charity or easily given away. We grabbed a large tote bag from this pile and filled it with our fruit.
Next time we will go back we will take a backpack for our fruit harvest – assuming there is any left.
I don’t know what the plan is for this land but I hope they don’t turn it into another manicured park. I’d like to see it be allowed to run wild. A place where fruit trees can be planted and left for people to help themselves. Perhaps a few art installations and some park benches and let it be a place for children and doglets to explore.
I hope you enjoy the photos below and at the very bottom are a couple of videos.