Monday, March 28, 2011

After The Red Verandah (not Under) Christchurch Quake

17 images, Worcester St:

Feb 2011. Under the Red Verandah, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, pre Feb 22 quake

National State of Emergency, 29.03.11. Exactly 5 weeks post 22 Feb, 6.3 magnitude quake, Under The Red Verandah restaurant, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, restarted as After The Red Verandah.

The old, double storey restaurant was damaged by the quake & soon demolished. While dining, some people were cut by flying glass in the Feb 22 quake.

29.03.11. Under The Red Verandah, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, demolished post Feb 22 quake, national state of emergency

29.03.11. Under the Red Verandah sign, top of demolition rubble, retrieved & nailed to After The Red Verandah fence, national state of emergency

Jake who worked at the restaurant had a lucky escape while drinking coffee outside, when a brick out-bldg collapsed during the Feb 22 quake. He pulled out the hot water cylinder with his bare hands & helped work mates escape. Jake, Luke & Leah were all close to catastrophe in the Feb 22 quake.

29.03.11. Post Feb 22 quake renovations, Under The Red Verandah, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, national state of emergency

Jake's employer paid him during post quake limbo weeks, while things restarted. Employers could apply to NZ govt to subsidize several weeks' post quake lost wages for employees, which provided Jake's limbo wages. (Business interruption insurance).

The boss strung Jake along to get labour out of him, when Jake could've been looking for another job. Rotten industrial relations hadn't changed in over 10 years, considering the rotten IR I'd experienced as a Christchurch labourer over 10 years ago.

NZ had a small population with a low wage economy. Some were supremely rich of course, stashing their wealth in trusts so Inland Revenue couldn't get hold of it.

Others in the hospitality industry lost jobs, especially those in the CBD, which became a No Go, red zone, check-pointed by NZDF soldiers & cops during the post quake, national state of emergency.

During the last couple of weeks before resuming business, Jake helped reshape the next door cottage as the new After The Red Verandah, by recycling bricks from the demolished restaurant & landscape gardening the back of the new restaurant. Heavy labouring work.

29.03.11. Opening of After The Red Verandah restaurant, 5 weeks post Feb 22 quake, national state of emergency, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St

A chalkboard notice on After The Red Verandah wall read:

temporary premises
Takeaway, coffee, muffins,
scones, hot soup & sammies.
Enjoy cottage garden
or sit inside.
We can't wait to see you.
Open Tuesday 29th...

On Tues 29.03.11, Leah & I had lunch at the new restaurant, ham & cheese toasted sandwiches, muffins & tea. Diners were already there enjoying the new garden ambience. Two brindled, brown pups played in the garden, while people ate & socialized.

The old Under The Red Verandah sign, battered, scuffed & torn, had been retrieved from demolition rubble & fastened to the back fence. While we ate, a digger next door removed the last of the rubble, dumping it in a truck, the digger rumbling, like aftershocks.

29.03.11. Five weeks post Feb 22 quake, opening day garden of After The Red Verandah restaurant, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, national state of emergency

It was good to see Jake back on the job, looking happy with work mates, tinged with sadness, as his best friend, a pub worker, was killed by the quake elsewhere in the CBD. A tribute for his friend, as his mates were back on the job remembering him.

While we ate, a camera crew arrived, taking pics. A lady wandered the cottage looking for places to hang art works, as the demolished restaurant had had a gallery on the top floor.

29.03.11. Demolition of Under The Red Verandah restaurant, cnr Tancred St / Worcester St, national state of emergency. Revamped After The Red Verandah restaurant opened the same day

A week after opening of After The Red Verandah, Jake was sacked: smaller restaurant, less customers. Once the govt funded employee wage subsidy expired, Jake was sacked. Sacking Jake, the restaurant lost Leah & me as customers too.

Within 6 weeks Jake had lost his job, twice; Jake's best friend was killed in the quake; Jake lost his Waltham Rd flat & possessions by quake flooding.

After going on the dole & surviving the winter in a quake damaged garage with a smelly chemical toilet & after another flat move, it took Jake 6 months to find another hospitality job in Christchurch. Dole was inadequate & we regularly supplied Jake with food, money & groceries.

Post Feb 22 quake, the hospitality industry imploded, abandoned hotels were trapped in the militarized, CBD red zone cordon. Hospitality workers left Christchurch, after quake closures of many pubs, restaurants, hotels & motels.

* Wandered Worcester St.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

1 comment:

  1. That's just lovely :-) congrats all around for the tenacity.