views | 28 november 2016

Part 2 of our interview series with the people of Christchurch post earthquake

Words: Mitch Alison  

Portraits: Russell Kleyn

 

Part 2 of our interview series with the young people of Christchurch post earthquake. From having family members trapped under rubble, to losing lovers, and studying in hypothermic-temp tents these guys have been affected in ways you can’t measure on the richter scale. These are their stories...

 

Tom Collins (like the cocktail), 18

 

Where were you born?
Lyttelton, New Zealand.

Do you have a job?
I do! I've just begun working at Amazon Surf & Sk8.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?
When the weather permits, I hit the beach with my best buddies. Otherwise, skate & create!

Where’s the best skate spot in Christchurch?
There's these water tanks on the Cashmere hills with some sweet homemade features, panoramic views and the friendliest guardian cat.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?
The best thing about living in Christchurch is the un-chlorinated tap water.
The worst thing about living in Christchurch is the maze of one-way streets and detours that we call the CBD. I still haven't figured it out.

How did the earthquakes affect you and your family?
My mom and dad's work was pretty scrambled, as was my school. I saw it as a bit of a twisted holiday to be honest. Compared to many my family came away relatively unscathed.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I want to grow old in Lyttelton.

What do you hope to achieve in life?
I want to design and build my own home. Less specifically, I want to be content and never not have a sick time.

Who do you most admire?
It's difficult to say who I most admire, but someone I admire a lot is my calculus teacher, Wes. He can speak three languages and has seen everything there is to see.

Who’s your favourite artist & photographer and why?
Currently, my favourite artist is Francis Bacon. I love the worlds he creates and the tension and emotion in his figures. My favourite photographer is probably Gregory Crewdson because of how surreal and open ended his photographs are; they really stimulate my imagination. They're kind of like those creative writing sentence starters you get given in primary school.

 

Allanah Johanne Thomas, 23

 

Where were you born?

Greymouth (unfortunately).

Do you have a job?

I do. I’m both a full time student at Canterbury University studying Political Science and Media and Communications, and I work at a delicious cocktail bar in Lyttelton called Civil and Naval.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?

I do the same thing for fun in Christchurch as I do anywhere else in the world. I read a lot, drink a lot, socialize, watch an ungodly number of television shows and smoke too many cigarettes.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?

The best thing is unequivocally the familiarity that comes with a (relatively) small community. I’ve moved a couple of times and very quickly the anonymity becomes isolation for me. However, familiarity and the two degrees of separation can become a Catch 22 very quickly. Knowing everyone and everyone knowing you can get… personal.

Honestly, I think the worst thing about living in Christchurch is the conservatism. The white upper-class mentality bleeds through social classes by osmosis, and so sexism and racism abounds. So, that hurts.

How did the earthquakes affect you and your family?

In very surprising ways actually. We were lucky enough that our family house held up fantastically. However, for me, the fallout at University was massive, and first year law is a whole lot more difficult when it’s taught in a breezy hypothermic-temp tent. The biggest fallout for me from the earthquake was the immediate impetus to move to a city with people, buildings and a nightlife. I spent two years chasing that dream, and figured home and support systems trumped cosmopolitanism.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

In a tree house, in a forest with books and some pretty reliable food-sources. But seriously, I don’t know yet. I’m about to graduate, and in a few months the world is my oyster. So come back to me in five years, after I’ve travelled and I’ll let you know.

What do you hope to achieve in life?

Honestly, I hope to achieve a lot. My politics degree was designed to a be a segue way into a life of political activism and change. I see a lot of disenfranchised people in our current system and say what you will about politics, I think we can do it better. In terms of a ‘dream,’ I think that to be able to successfully get into journalism and use that as a way to encourage people to engage in their political system would be the most ideal outcome I could hope to achieve in life. Personal happiness and social progression would be a dope combination.

Who do you most admire?

F. Scott Fitzgerald. Sexiest vocabulary a human could possibly possess.

What do you think about the media’s portrayal of Christchurch?

It depends where you look I guess. I think that Christchurch is in the midst of an intense political and social battle, and it’s due to an unprecedented natural disaster. It could be an amazing opportunity to do something interesting and progressive and to move outside a typical suffocating, resource intensive city. But there are a lot of people, their lives and their livelihoods at stake, and that breeds tension.

However, I think the media has been a productive vehicle for both citizens and the government in terms of getting viewpoints across within the last five years, and I appreciate there being a forum available for use. Although,the media most often focuses on the outcomes for private home and business ownership, and there are a lot more available voices in Christchurch. Power to the people and such.

 

Oscar Bannan, 18

 

Where were you born?
Auckland

Do you have a job?
Yeah, I work part time at a secondhand clothing store. I've also been modelling for a couple of years now.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?
I have a pretty consistent routine of driving around with my pals, hunting out the best gems at op shops and discovering new beautiful places. I live in Lyttelton and most of my friends live close by, so we spend a lot of time at the beach and wandering the hills.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?
The best thing is the serenity after sunset.
The worst thing is the generational divide in the art scene.

How did the Canterbury earthquakes affect you and your family?
I live with my mother and our house at the time was unlivable after the February 22nd quake. Apart from having to relocate, my family and I were pretty unscathed. That being said, one of my cats went missing for a week and got diabetes because her insulin levels were out of whack.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I want to live in many places, but my ultimate goal is to retire in Diamond Harbour and have a beautiful garden.

What do you hope to achieve in life?
It'd be pretty dope to walk for a Demna Gvasalia show.

Who do you most admire?
Kurt Johnson.

How would you describe your fashion style?
Fab Dad.

 

Juju, 26

 

Where were you born?
Burwood hospital, Christchurch

Do you have a job?
Tattooer.

What do you do for fun in Christchurch?
Lots of things are fun! I like the sun and walking around the harbour where I live, I like reading and having conversations that have more content than what the weather’s doing, I like eating and drawing and hugging animals. All the usual things.

What’s the best and worst thing about living in Christchurch?
The best thing bout Christchurch is the people and living in lyttelton and diamond harbour where I can avoid Christchurch. The worst thing about Christchurch is the overall sense of trudging gloom. Or maybe that was just winter.

How did the Canterbury earthquakes affect you and your family?
The earthquake was life changing everyone knows about it. It sucked but also lots of good things came from it. It's a common thread people have to relate to. It's still fucked but there's cool things happening. Super sick of talking about it.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I've yet to move out of Chch but am moving to Dunedin in the new year. I'd like to think I could be happy anywhere that I can make a home. I have no dream place to live except I'm looking forward to having my own space in the country one day.

What do you hope to achieve in life?
I want to be really good at what I do and I want to remember to be happy about living.

Who do you most admire?
I admire anyone who knows themselves and what they want and that can be happy.

 

grams:

interview: mitch alison (@mitchalison)

photographs: russell kleyn  (@russkleyn)

 

hashies:

#chchanges #views #opinions #feature #perspective #viewpoint #interview #everyday #people #portrait #mitchalison #russellkleyn #photography #inspiration #christchurch #newzealand #loandbehold #loandbehold.nz

 

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