Back home from poor old Christchurch

Edit – Monday 13 June:  I gather my heading photo above is now inaccurate, as initial reports say the rose window was damaged more in today’s big aftershocks. 

I’m back at home after an interesting fortnight-long work trip to Christchurch – the New Zealand city badly hit by an earthquake in February this year.

It was heart-breaking to see the damage to the city in which I spent most of my childhood. You don’t understand how bad it is till you see it in real life – much worse than the TV pictures. So many of the buildings from my old memories are now broken or destroyed (or ‘munted’ as the Christchurchians tend to say).   I used to love as a kid climbing the spiral staircase in the iconic Cathedral tower  – now gone.  And the old Canterbury Provincial Buildings were such a wonderful medieval edifice for a new country like New Zealand.

I experienced a 5.5 aftershock whilst I was down there. Apparently this was the sixth most powerful shock they’ve had – I hate to think what the five stronger ones were like, because this one was bad enough for me. I was in a school library, and sought shelter in a doorway as the roof moved and groaned rather alarmingly, while books fell from the shelves.

I was in Christchurch to deliver a training programme to police education officers. Normally we run all our training up here at the Police College in Porirua, but because of the earthquake, we were reluctant to force Christchurch police officers away from their families for two weeks, so I went down and delivered the course to them instead. We based the course in a local high school down there. As a side benefit to the training, having a dozen or so cops based permanently in school for two weeks was a great way of fostering youth/police relationships.

I did get the opportunity to do some wargaming during my fortnight in Christchurch, thanks to our pals in the Southern Strategists.

One game was a delightful 15mm Sikh Wars game using ‘Volley and Bayonet’. Besides the exotic and colourful period, it was my first time with these rules – I found them very easy to pick up.  The buildings were also little architectural gems.  See the pictures below taken by Rodger Wood (click to enlarge and see the amazing detail of these 15mm figures and buildings). 

The other game was a ‘Regimental Fire and Fury’ ACW game in 28mm. Lovely terrain and figures, and another simple but effective ruleset.  Again, the figures and terrain were exquisite (again, click on the photos to see them in all their enlarged glory).

No doubt you’ll be able to see many other pics of these games on the Strategists’ own blogs soon:

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Back home from poor old Christchurch

  1. Rodger

    Hi Roly. It was great having you along to a couple of our games. Glad you enjoyed them.

  2. Ray

    Some very nice figures and looking games.

  3. Wayne

    Hi, Roly. It was great to be able to host you and I’m pleased you enjoyed the games that were put on. It was just your bad luck to be here for a sizable quake and I suspect you will now be more prepared if one happens to hit Wellington…batteries, torch, food and a backpack with a knife and a long rope for getting caught in a multi-storey building!
    Drop me a line next time you are heading down here and we’ll organise another game for you. Looking forward to seeing some more of those Mindens painted up.

    Cheers!

    Wayne

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