Quake City Tops Quarter of a Million Visitors

Tuesday 04 September 2018

Canterbury Museum’s special exhibition Quake City has welcomed its 250,000th visitor, exactly 8 years on from the first seismic event in Canterbury’s devastating earthquake sequence.

Jian and Erin at Quake City

Jian Zhu, 22, and Erin Jin, 21, visited Quake City on the 8-year anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake.

Visitors 249,999 and 250,000 were Jian Zhu, 22, and Erin Jin, 21, from Wellington.

Zhu said he and Jin wanted to learn more about the Canterbury earthquakes after they saw the empty spaces around the central city. The pair had an earthquake experience of their own when the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake rocked Wellington.

Quake City opened in Cashel Street as part of the Re:START container mall on 15 February 2013. It aimed to meet demand from businesses and community groups for an attraction which told the story of the Canterbury earthquakes, and would help bring locals and tourists back to the central city.

More than 50,000 people visited Quake City in its first year, and when the Cashel Street site closed for relocation in June 2017 over 190,000 visitors had been through.

The exhibition’s popularity has continued since it opened at its new site on the corner of Durham Street North and Armagh Street; almost 60,000 people have visited since it opened there in September 2017.

Most Quake City visitors are now from overseas, but the exhibition is also popular with locals. In the last year, admission charges have been waived for a weekend twice so that local people can visit for free. During the most recent free weekend on 4 and 5 August 2018, 1,850 people came through.

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the Museum is proud that the exhibition is proving popular with visitors to Christchurch.

“This is a real milestone for us. Visitors to Canterbury are very interested in understanding what happened here 8 years ago and it’s a real privilege to show them how the earthquakes have shaped the region,” he says.

“We’re also very grateful to the people of Canterbury for trusting us with their earthquake stories.”

Quake City exhibits some of the defining objects of the Canterbury earthquakes, including the top of the spire of ChristChurch Cathedral, as well as items like road cones, water containers and portaloos that were part of many Cantabrians’ lives post-earthquake.

Visitors can harness pedal power to watch a short film on Gap Filler’s cycle-powered cinema, or design new buildings for Christchurch using Lego bricks. There are also scientific explanations for what caused the quakes and why the February 2011 seismic event, in particular, was so destructive.

Quake City is supported by major sponsor the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

Quake City, 299 Durham Street North, corner Armagh Street, open 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily (except Christmas Day). Admission charges apply.

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