Last view of a fallen city

17 December 2012

Some of the last panoramic views of Christchurch's red zone have been preserved in the University of Canterbury's QuakeStudies digital archive.

Some of the last panoramic views of Christchurch’s red zone have been preserved in the University of Canterbury's QuakeStudies digital archive.

A virtual tour of Christchurch’s red zone will be kept in the archive as a lasting reminder of so many Christchurch buildings that will never be seen again.

Christchurch’s Murray Quartly, who runs Focus360 Virtual Website Tours, has gifted the images to the UC archive for all New Zealanders to see. The collection was released to the public on UC’s QuakeStudies on 17 December. 

Mr Quartly used sophisticated imaging techniques to create panoramic shots of street corners in the red zone.

Since the earthquakes, Mr Quartly has been working on a comprehensive tour of Christchurch’s ever-changing central city and these shots can be seen on the UC QuakeStudies archive.

"The panoramic shots provide an amazing way to see how Christchurch is changing.  Ordinary photographs help, but the 360 degree view adds a sense of being there which people seem to really value," he said.

"It is a work in progress and we aim to continue for a number of years as Christchurch recovers. I was in the 1968 Inangahua earthquake and there is no record of what the place was like before the earthquake. So this was important for me, to record what was left of Christchurch’s CBD."

He said 17 street corner and Square locations were taken with the intention to return to those same locations every six months over a series of years as the rebuild takes place. Mr Quartly had his first photo shoot inside the cordoned red zone on 5 March this year.

"The UC CEISMIC project supported the trip and then CERA allowed me in accompanied by a CERA staff member. All the shots were taken from the cordoned-off red zone."

Director of the UC CEISMIC archive Associate Professor Paul Millar (Humanities) said UC was proud to be displaying Mr Quartly’s panorama shots.

"They provide a unique view of the impact of the demolitions and rebuild in the central city.

"Partnerships like our one with Focus360 are the key to collecting and preserving earthquake-related material. Although QuakeStudies has only recently begun operation, we already have 5000 significant items available, with 20,000 more prepared for release in early 2013," Professor Millar said.

See the Red Zone virtual tour at or

For more information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Communications and External Relations
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168

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