Claire Culph, Communications Advisor, PRINZ
My three days spent in Christchurch were extremely insightful. It was an emotional time seeing the city for the first time after the earthquake however exciting to see the innovative projects in place and the fantastic attitudes of people. I got to experience the fascinating Gap Filler project firsthand with other conference delegates.
Gap Filler is an urban regeneration initiative that aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch. Its creative projects benefit the community by making it more interesting and vibrant. The reality of many empty spaces that buildings once occupied was overwhelming. As a visitor to the city, seeing the projects put in place by Gap Filler made me smile. Where else in the world would you rock up somewhere, plug your iPod into a washing machine, insert $2 and then dance your heart out in the sun at a Dance-O-Mat. Due to many lost performance venues in the city, the Dance-O-Mat was an initiative set up to make a space available for dance groups. PRINZ had a great time here having a boogie!
Gap Filler is a way to encourage unity and a feeling of hope for the people of Christchurch. Coralie Winn (Gap Filler Co-Founder) pointed out different projects as we drove through the city. It was inspiring knowing that each of the Gap Filler projects contributes to the community and assists new business owners, artists and creative people to get their ideas up and running.
The Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion is one of Gap Filler most ambitious projects. The Gap Filler venue was created with 3000 recycled wooden pallets on the former Crowne Plaza Hotel site and was scheduled to close in April. A fundraising campaign to keep the Pallet Pavilion was set up and is just $10,000 short of its target with less than four days to go. The target of $80,000 needs to be reached by 6pm on Saturday otherwise the money will be returned and the pavilion will disappear. As part of the campaign, donors can “rent” a pallet for a year. For more information or to donate visit pledgeme.co.nz/1064.
Overall, conference was a fantastic three days meeting lots of wonderful intriguing people and seeing how a community has come together through such a tough time.