TV series shows Christchurch as it is

TV presenter shocked at homelessness

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 16:57 16/09/2014

From the back of an ageing Mercedes, presenters Rachel Morton and Lindon Puffin criss-cross the streets of Christchurch. They pick up a tour guide and along the way meet the dreamers, innovators and engineers who are creating the new city.

Gerard Smyth
Supplied
DIRECTOR: Gerard Smyth is looking for solutions.
Lindon Puffin and Rachel Morton
Supplied
PRESENTERS: Lindon Puffin and Rachel Morton criss-cross Christchurch streets.

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Christchurch: From the Streets is exactly that: a street level view of us, four years on.

Gerard Smyth, the award-winning director of When a City Falls, and his team at Frank Film have uncovered Christchurch's innovations through the lives of everyday people living in extraordinary times.

Aiming to give Christchurch people a voice in their own recovery, the second series of From the Streets asks "What Could Be for Christchurch?" and looks to the future.

''We've said we're a petri dish for how New Zealand might be,'' Smyth says. ''That's our new culture, embracing change. We look for the might be's and could be's, we look for a solution.''

The first episode of the six-part series airs at 11.30am on TV1 on Sunday.

Each episode has a theme - Where we are at, Affordable Housing, the Arts, Children and Young People, the City Centre and, the Future.

From the back of an ageing Mercedes, presenters Rachel Morton and Lindon Puffin criss-cross the streets of Christchurch. They pick up a tour guide and along the way meet the dreamers, innovators and engineers who are creating the new city.

''We tell real stories,'' Morton says. ''But we also look ahead and we look at solutions. We are continuing to tell stories across all social groups. It's an honour, as someone who moved here six years ago, to tell the stories of a community which has embraced me.''

Morton says she was most shocked by the high level of homelessness in Christchurch.

''It's a housing crisis, I'm not going to call it a challenge. Coming from Edinburgh and Glasgow, where homelessness is very real, I was frightened and really surprised by what's happening in Christchurch. I felt naive but I didn't really understand how bad it was.''

It's not easy to be positive about homelessness but Smyth says their focus was on solutions.

''We might meet someone in a caravan but we'd ask 'how can we get them into a home?' We looked at how accessible and how cheap our housing might be one day. We found a house imported from China and met a guy in Kaiapoi doing extraordinary things in terms of housing.''

The promo footage for the series was captured by drone.

''It is incredible footage,'' Morton says. ''The music is a new song, Runway, by Nadia Reid, we filmed her recording at Lyttelton Records for the Arts episode.

''It is screening on a Sunday morning but I hope lots of people get to see it.''

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