The new CanCERN website may be dodgy

Some years ago the legitimate CanCERN website became redundant and ceased to exist. When it went so did all the files and newsletters associated with it.

Last week, on the 9th of August, the old CanCERN website name became active again. As of today there is nothing on it, but more may come later.  I have contacted former CanCERN people and they have no involvement with it at all.

Checks on the name shows the following: it has been registered in Dubai and the registrant lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. There is a NZ admin contact phone number in Auckland but it is not one I recognise.

Of all the possible combinations of website names that could be used only the old CanCERN one has been purchased.

When you think about it there seems to be no need for anyone in Bulgaria to want to use that name.  It may, or may not, be an innocent situation HOWEVER my advice is to not visit the site in case it has nasties on it – there won’t be any legitimate CanCERN information. If I find out otherwise I will post accordingly.


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Commemorating Avonside on Feb 22

The Avon-Otakaro Network have organised a commemoration of Avonside at Retreat Park with a memorial and exhibition this coming Friday starting at 11.00 am. Retreat Park is on the corner of Retreat Road and Patton Street. All are welcome.

The programme is:

11am                   Mihi whakatau and karakia: Te-Kaharoa Manihera

11:05am            Mayor speaks and then officially opens the Memorial by unveiling the entrance signage

11:10am            Haka by boys from SBHS

11:12am            Local Avonside Resident says a few words

11:15am            AGHS Student Leader speaks from the school perspective

11:18am            Waiata: Linwood North Primary

11:22am            UC School of Fine Arts representative speaks to the exhibition.

11:27am            Closing karakia

11:30am            Community BBQ and get together in the reserve – people can have an opportunity to view the panels at their ease and/or chat to the folk from UC re the exhibition


12:15pm            Folk are invited to join a walk through the Avonside red zone to Avonside Drive at the Medway St Footbridge memorial to arrive by 12:40pm

12:45pm            Start of a small River of Flowers ceremony

12:51pm            Two minutes silence

12:53pm            SBHS boys do haka and then lone piper plays Amazing Grace while people throw flowers in the river.

Ceremony ends.

There is a Facebook page for the event here

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Earthquake Recovery Symposium

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods has announced an earthquake recovery symposium to be held in November. There is a news release concerning this on the Council’s website here.

The news item in Tuesday’s Press says it “… will be held on November 29 and 30 at the University of Canterbury. Up to 250 people from the public, private, community and academic realms will be invited.” Mayor Lianne Dalziel is quoted as saying the symposium will be preceded by a series of workshops.  The full article is on the Press website here .

Maybe my opinion is unduly cynical but it seems to me this is yet another high-risk situation. Many of the principle participants may be serial symposium and conference attendees, rather than practical and experienced people. If so it could end up being a talk-fest for a range of folk who neither directly experienced the after-effects of the earthquakes, nor made a valuable contribution to the recovery effort. Minister Woods is quoted by the Council:

“The Symposium will be an event of national importance, sharing lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes so that New Zealand as a whole can be better prepared in future for any similar natural disasters,” Dr Woods says.

“The Canterbury earthquakes were unprecedented. They provide us with many valuable lessons, which we continue to review and learn from to ensure our communities are more resilient and prepared.

While these people will have something to share, can we be sure about how well the lessons are understood? Such sharing is premature in the absence of substantial external investigations into how well various agencies performed. Some time this year EQC will be up for scrutiny, which is good. However we still await investigation into the performance of CERA, private insurers, Council, and the health system. How can we learn from our experiences if only official respectful, constructive, and forward-focused versions of events are available? Will, with the passage of time, institutional memories be created of heroic and insightful efforts to the exclusion of inconvenient realities? What harm will that do in misinforming future recovery efforts?

And what of Mayor Dalziel’s workshops? Is this a polite way of saying the experiences and knowledge of the ordinary person will funnelled into well managed groups where minders with flipcharts, or sticky notes to put on the wall, will record what is said, promising it will be relayed to the higher-ups? Hopefully Minister Woods will ensure that those who experienced it all first hand, the workers who fixed the problems, the scientists who walked through the silt, the medical professionals who handled the harm, will have an influential and undiluted voice.

As an aside, Minister Brownlee cancelled an earlier proposed symposium in November 2016. A Press article about the cancellation (here) stated “Fifty-one speakers, including overseas attendees, had been confirmed and “speaker guidelines” were produced to ensure a “respectful, constructive, and forward-focused event”. Among those invited to speak were ” … Prime Minister John Key, Sir Peter Gluckman, former EQC boss Ian Simpson and numerous international experts.” Dinner was to be held at the Tannery. A really experienced and well-informed bunch? Will it be a similar cast of characters this year?

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Vestiges – a Red Zone photography exhibition

You may recall the Thanx 4 the Memories exhibition back in August 2013. Tim Veling, one of the photographers involved with that project, is continuing to photograph the Red Zones as the land changes.

Tim has a small exhibition of some of the changed landscapes at COCA gallery in Christchurch. Details of the exhibition, that runs until the 29th of July, can be found on COCA’s website here.

An interesting challenge is to look at the images and try to identify where they were taken! Addresses are given in the programme accompanying the exhibition.

Tim is also administrator of the ongoing Place in Time: The Christchurch Documentary Project.  You can see more of Tim’s Red Zone images if you follow the links below:

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Red Zone Futures Exhibition

Regenerate Christchurch have opened a public exhibition showcasing the big picture ideas they have developed for the Christchurch red zones. The exhibition is at 99 Cashel Street and runs 7 days a week until the 30th of June. Opening hours are on the exhibition website here..

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