Christchurch is not only the largest city in the South Island but it is also the oldest settlement in New Zealand. The city is very quiet and peaceful with the occasional sound of street cars taking off in the distance. An undeniable trait of the city is its pride in the up kept public parks, scenic gardens, and collection of lush trees that line the streets. No wonder it is deemed the Garden City!
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū was an incredible museum and a must-see if you are in the area. I wanted to pay special attention to this acrylic on canvas piece. When I first looked at it, I felt like it was soldiers marching in to a battle field with an anger so great it’s as if they’ve been set on fire. I realized the soldiers were women, specifically Ngāti Porou. They were performing their version of a Haka. Haka is a traditionally male war dance from the Māori culture. The description has a quote from the women stating, “As Māori women we need to reaffirm our place in Aotearoa and be accorded the same status that once was ours in traditional culture.”
The Christchurch Botanical Gardens is the prime jewel of the city. The old fashioned water fountains and diverse flora vividly catches your eye. It feels as if you walked in to a complete Victorian fantasy. It is the perfect place to sit in the sun and read a Charlotte Brontë novel.
My favorite feature of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens is the World Peace Bell. It is a gift from Japan and a gesture of peace from one country to another. It is made out of various medals and coins so it has a very charming metallic texture that is beautifully crafted. I love that I found this because this is a symbol of what I hope my future will be. Every country accepting one another for their beliefs and celebrating differences. A future where every country has a world peace bell in their neighborhood’s botanical garden.