Five things only people in Christchurch will understand video

Whatever they face, the people of Christchurch still have their sense of humour intact.
CARYS MONTEATH

Whatever they face, the people of Christchurch still have their sense of humour intact.

Despite dealing with thousands of earthquakes in the last five years Cantabrians have never lost their sense of humour. We look back over five years of quirky quake moments.

1. That time Batman turned himself in to police.

Is it Christchurch or Gotham City? wrote reporter David Williams on September 30, 2011.

With the so-called White Lights of Hope swirling in the skies above the earthquake-ravaged city, a man wearing a Batman ...
Al Nisbet

With the so-called White Lights of Hope swirling in the skies above the earthquake-ravaged city, a man wearing a Batman costume complete with mask, cape and tights marched into the central police station in 2011.

With the White Lights of Hope swirling in the skies above earthquake-hit Christchurch, a man wearing a Batman costume – complete with mask, cape and tights – marched into the central police station late one Sunday night.

"First of all he wanted to speak to the commissioner," said Sergeant Chris Jones, who was just starting his shift when the "caped crusader" appeared.

"And then he wanted to know what was going on and why he'd been called, because he'd seen the lights in the sky."

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The lights were beaming out from within the cordoned central city after the first anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake as a symbol of hope for long-suffering residents.

Internet chatter quickly latched on to the similarity to the Bat-Signal – the emblem flashed in the skies above Gotham City to summon comic-book character Batman, usually at the behest of police commissioner Gordon.

Williams reported that Jones was not impressed by the masked prankster, who was filmed by a friend.

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"He was actually rather a scrawny Batman, I'd have to say," Jones said.

"If he was going to look for a sidekick for a Robin, he'd have to be probably about 6 foot 4 and built like a tank to help him out."

After a brief exchange with police watchhouse staff, the costumed prankster, aged in his early 20s, made his exit – presumably to the Batmobile.

Jones said "Batman" was treated with the utmost respect, adding: "Contrary to popular belief, the police still have a sense of humour."

2. You know you're from Christchurch when...

- Every house is a crack house.

- Going to Wellington to escape earthquakes makes sense.

- Your answer to where anything is, is always "it's on the floor".

Bruce Raines compiled the clever quips coined by Cantabrians and turned them into two successful books.

One of Bruce Raines successful books on clever quips coined by Cantabrians.

3. No TV or internet access? Make your own games.

In 2012 earthquake recovery became more fun with the launch of board game Quakes and Ladders.

Can you achieve your repairs or rebuild, or will the Earthquake Commission lose your scope of works? Beat the insurance tsars with a spin of the dice.

Siobhan Grimshaw came up with the idea for the game after talking to her Mt Pleasant neighbours about dealing with insurance issues.

Grimshaw was struck by how much her insurance battle resembled a game of Snakes and Ladders.

"So often with the insurance side of things it feels like we're making progress. They make lots of promises, and then we find ourselves back at square one."

While the underlying messages within the game were real, she saw Quakes and Ladders as a way of injecting fun into a difficult situation, while recognising - and empathising with - the many challenges Cantabrians faced.

The counters are nuts and bolts, and competitors move their pieces around closed roads and demolitions and battle insurance companies to win the game.

Funds raised from sales of the game were donated to Aviva, formerly the Christchurch Women's Refuge.

Playing Quakes and Ladders is from left, Sonja Wegener, Jocelyn Paprall and Sonja's children, Lennart, 11 and Annabella, 5. They are neighbours of the game designers. Picture: DON SCOTT

4. Toilet humour, southern style

Cantabrians are always prepared to go the extra mile.

Post 2011 earthquake a flushing toilet was considered a luxury item by many.

The showusyourlongdrop.co.nz website encouraged people to enter pictures of their creatively built long drops that popped up around Christchurch post quake.

They boasted names like The TURDIS, Barry's Bog and Just Pooh. But it was Lambert's Lavatory which took out the $1000 Mitre 10 voucher. Although the prize competition is closed you are still welcome to vote for your favourite Long Drop.

Lambert's Lavatory which took out the $1000 Mitre 10 voucher. Picture:  showusyourlongdrop.co.nz website

5. Finding ways to smile

"And I feel like I should cry, when I walk along the streets where people died, but I've got to live my life, go to work, go to sleep and pay the bills on time," sang James Beck on his 2011 YouTube clip, Christchurch City (My Home Town). 

Armed with just a humble ukulele and his dancing friend Christian Gallen, Beck danced his way around the inner city red zone cordon.

He said at the time it was about living with hope for the future and coming to terms with the past.

 - The Press

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