The Port Hills – a ruined landscape gallery video

Fairfax NZ

Port Hills fire damage from the air.

The whole of New Zealand has watched on in despair this week as wild fire engulfed the Port Hills, spewing smoke out across Christchurch below.

Part of the fear was the unknown. From Colombo St, in the central city, it was hard to see what was happening. It's only from the air you get a real sense of the extent of the devastation, and the cause of all that smoke.

1800 hectares, or 18 square kilometres, utterly destroyed. An area the size of the entire Pacific Island nation of Nauru.

The fire spread quickly into residential areas of the Port Hills on Wednesday.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The fire spread quickly into residential areas of the Port Hills on Wednesday.

The wicker-dry, hay-like grass of the hills is prime fodder for the kind of fire that has ruined the landscape. The vegetation is in sharp contrast to the veins of destruction running through it. It's the reason the hills are now painted in strange yellow and black patterns.

READ MORE:
Live: Christchurch fires edge closer
Fires: What you need to know
Brownlee slams belated response
Governors Bay Bush destroyed
In Pictures: Choppers battle blaze
Smoke pollution 'as bad as Asia'
Fires reach Victoria Park
Wildfires visible from space

It's an odd sort of devastation. A random havoc that completely destroyed some areas and left others untouched as fire crept through valleys and up nooks, while missing other areas completely.

The Gordon family property on Early Valley Rd was destroyed.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Gordon family property on Early Valley Rd was destroyed.

Sometimes a single house is miraculously spared while everything around it is obliterated. Other times, the fire has reached down through a narrow corridor, annihilated a property and then retreated suddenly, leaving everything around it unscathed. The fire swept down a hill behind the suburb of Cashmere on Thursday morning, destroying everything it touched, before suddenly retreating 15 minutes later.

A chaotic, powerful force of nature which takes hundreds of people, thousands of hours and millions of dollars to control.

Ad Feedback
Fire damage at the Christchurch Adventure Park.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Fire damage at the Christchurch Adventure Park.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Can micronutrients help with anxiety?

Julia Rucklidge's team is currently conducting a trial to see if micronutrients can improve depression and anxiety ...

One in 10 adults in the developed world now takes an antidepressant.

Us Two: The Mad Butcher and Don Graham

Sir Peter Leitch, left, and Don Graham.

'You know the saying, "He'd give you the shirt off his back?" I've actually seen him do that.'

Lucy Hone: Stress for success

Having a Personal Stress Plan may just be the difference between life and death, writes Dr Lucy Hone.

Not all stress is bad - if you can learn how to handle it.

'Kiwi culture' turns deadly video

Making a summer splash at locations such as the Raglan footbridge is seen as a Kiwi tradition but the consequences can ...

Four have suffered the same life-changing injury diving off a wharf; another was killed jumping from a bridge. Now, councils are taking action.

Wellington

Wellington loses Si and Gary show

Wellingtonians won't hear Si & Gary on their breakfast show anymore.

But they'll get something more local in return - Polly and Grant.

Man caught with gun

A man was arrested after police found a loaded shotgun in a car. (FILE PHOTO)

Gang tension is believed to be be behind the arrest of a man carrying a loaded shotgun in Masterton.

How to stop begging? video

Marcus Pohio is homeless and regularly begs on Courtenay Place, in Wellington.

The only thing that will get Marcus Pohio off the street is death. But is public generosity speeding that up?

Ex-British Cars House for sale

The building features a tiled lobby and a vintage cage lift.

1920s character building with penthouse apartment and rooftop on the market.

Canterbury

Photos: Christchurch floods

Heathcote River flooding near Sloane Terrace.

The Heathcote River has burst its banks and flooded southern parts of the city.

Live: Southern deluge 

The rain may have eased but parts of Canterbury and Otago are still underwater.

State of emergencies declared in several areas as flood waters force scores of evacuations.

State of emergency in Chch

Christchurch's Heathcote River was in flood on Saturday morning.

Residents evacuated in boats as persistent rain floods the Heathcote River, closing roads and inundating properties.

Heathcote residents trapped

Waimea Terrace resident Tarapreet Singh, 25.

The kitchen sink is brimming with water and the nearly overflowing toilet is unflushable.

Waikato

Historic cottage illegally destroyed

This Huntly coal-mining cottage in Tregoweth Street was torn down illegally by its owner, Kevin David Lynch, in January 2016.

The owner was fined $10,000 after he bulldozed the late Victorian coal miner's cottage.

Body in bale ruling

The body was found at OJI Fibre Solutions and FullCircle Recycling on June 28 in Frankton's Pukeko Street.

If it hadn't been raining, Daniel Bindner might not have crawled into a cardboard recycling cage.

Crash closes SH1

Police are at the scene of a crash on SH1 north of Turangi which has blocked the road.

Contractors working to clear State Highway 1 north of Turangi after a truck rolls.

Quad bike safety an attitude thing

Trauma data reveals a huge peak in quad bike injuries among the 55-to-65 age group.

Wintec students look to solve the problem of quad bike accidents.

Taranaki

Terrier looking for a friend

210717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Katie Tahere's dog Mocha is looking for a walking buddy after her dog Coco ...

Mocha is looking for a new walking companion after losing her best friend.

Farewells not the focus

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the team aren't focusing on rallying together to try and send the departees out on a high.

Any game now could be the last for several stalwarts, but the Chiefs aren't using departures as motivation.

Building gets new roof

The New Plymouth District Council decided in January to use shingles instead of corrugated iron on the Gables under ...

The Gables Gallery's shiny new roof looks the part, thanks to 20,000 new shingles

From reporter to magical nanny

Not quite as graceful as Mary Poppins, but reporter Tara Shaskey gets a first-hand lesson on the production's flying stunts.

Mary Poppins is just a little bit magical. And that doesn't come easy or cheap.

Manawatu

Fetch not always a fun game

Chasing sticks can be a dangerous game, write vet Malcolm Anderson.

OPINION: Vet Malcolm Anderson offers some words of advice about the dangers of playing fetch.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Millions spent fixing police cars

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years, with costs peaking in 2016.

Moon landing celebrated 

Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon.

MEMORY LANE: Do you remember the first Moon landing?

Nelson

Nelson too good for Wanderers

22072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Nelson players and support staff after winning the  Nelson Bays Division 1 ...

Nelson turn it on to hammer Wanderers in Nelson Bays club rugby final. 

Buzz about beekeeping

05062015 News Photo: Marion van Dijk / Fairfax NZ.

Urban beekeeper Nigel Costley with one of his beehives in the ...

Nelsonians keen to learn more about keeping bees can do so in a short course through the Nelson Environment Centre.

Trespass case win

Lawyer John Fitchett has won a trespass case against Nelson College.

Lawyer wins case against Nelson College board meetings, but judge unimpressed.

Dancers put their best foot forward

Lillian Southward performs in the Jazz Solo section at the Nelson Performing Arts Competitions 83rd Annual Festival at ...

 Toes were on point at the performing arts competition held over the weekend.

Marlborough

All hands on deck

John's Kitchen supervisor Richard McDonald likes the idea that food can be an expression of care.

Blenheim charity kitchen takes on new staff to cope with high workload.

Team turned around

The MBC Falcons rugby team had a frustrating day on Friday.

MBC First XV rugby team spent around 14 hours in a bus yesterday, then never even got to pull their boots on.

The next big quake

The Adelphi Hotel, in Kaikoura, was pulled down due to earthquake damage.

It's impossible to say when an earthquake is going to strike. But the predictable patterns of aftershocks can help.

Exploring Africa

The Hansby family at Victoria Falls, from left, Luke Hansby, Fleur Hansby, Nick Hansby and Sam Hansby.

When you plan your trip to Africa, the animals and environment are expected to be the main attraction.

South Canterbury

Power crews tackle cuts

A firefighter, from the Washdyke station, and a Netcon worker tackle a burning power pole on the Pleasant Point Highway ...

Pleasant Point residents urged to restrict power use as crews work to restore supply.

Ready, set...chomp video

Randy Santel tackles the Gotham burger challenge at the Central Cafe in Geraldine.

US competitive eater polishes off NZ's largest burger in under 10 mins.

Mackenzie blanketed 

Heavy snow is falling in Tekapo.

Snow is still falling in the Mackenzie after a dumping overnight.

Horses scramble to safety

A large tree swept past as the horses huddled for safety.

Horses clung together to dodge tree and debris sweeping towards them in raging flood.

Southland

Stewart Island heritage gets $1m

An artist's impression of the Rakiura Heritage Centre. The centre has received, over $1 million in Government funding to ...

The Government is to commit $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust.

Post-funeral brawl

Police and ambulance were alerted to the incident, but were not eventually required.

A post-funeral gathering in Bluff on Thursday night ended with blood, broken glass and a visit from the police.

Irrigation scheme 'a win-win'

Dairy Creek Ltd director Tim O'Sullivan, Pioneer Energy chief executive Fraser Jonker and Pioneer Energy project manager ...

A $10m irrigation scheme near Alexandra, Central Otago, is going to deliver water to about 1800 hectares of barren land.

Gecko stolen from visitor centre

The Marlborough green gecko that was stolen from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau.

An at risk gecko has been stolen from the DoC visitor centre in Fiordland.

Ad Feedback