Road cones make light of Christchurch city scape

Nothing is safe when road cones are near.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Nothing is safe when road cones are near.

Love them or hate them, road cones have become synonymous with Christchurch's recovery.

Beyond major roading projects, road cones have been used to make light of often trying times.

They have been dressed up in floral arrangements, plonked in gardens, up trees and balanced on lamp posts.

Roads cones scattered over the road, blocking traffic on Christchurch's Wairakei Rd.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Roads cones scattered over the road, blocking traffic on Christchurch's Wairakei Rd.

Ara Institute of Canterbury art and design tutor Henry Sunderland said he estimated there would be at least 10,000 road cones in the city at any one time.

"We are still the road cone city in Australasia, if not the world."

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Road cones have been placed over ground lights in Cathedral Square.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Road cones have been placed over ground lights in Cathedral Square.

Sunderland had used cones in art exhibitions and was behind the flowers in cones initiative, which went global and allowed people to pay their respects on the anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people.

"For all of us, it's that symbol. . . it's just a remembrance of what has gone on before but at the same time we should be looking forward."

While central city streets, like Manchester St, have once again been taken over by fluorescent cones, new scenes of humour and creativity are emerging.

Canterbury University students dress as road cones at the annual UCSA Tea Party last week.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Canterbury University students dress as road cones at the annual UCSA Tea Party last week.

"I think it will remain an icon for a long time," Sunderland said.

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Opportunities for anyone with an imagination and with a desire to brighten up city spaces and events are rife.

Christchurch librarian Valerie Livingstone previously set up a blog dedicated to the Christchurch road cone. In it she described the road cone's main predator as being the University of Canterbury (UC) student.

Last week, UC students were snapped on their way to their annual end of lectures celebration dressed as road cones.

Meanwhile in the city, road cones have been placed over ground lights in Cathedral Square, creating a moody atmosphere.

Outside the under-repair Town Hall, a lone road cone rose to the top of a light post.

Sunderland said he hoped a large memorial cone would be made "as a remembrance".

"I would love to see something like that because it's become a people's thing."

Cone spotters can revell in the fact the death of the road cone population appears to be a long way off.

Some have helped shape the cone's image, like Sandy Turner, who transformed her standard cycling helmet into a road cone masterpiece. 

When one of the Stand Tall Giraffes was damaged in St Alban's Malvern Park in 2014, another took shape, featuring seven carefully balanced cones.

 - Stuff

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