Once the headlines have faded there comes the grim reality of picking up the pieces. Post the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch and the repair work seems endless. Disruption (not in the business innovation sense), homelessness and displacement are ever-present if not always acknowledged, an unpleasant undercurrent.

Combine this with a recent collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness (‘stuck in the maze // from housed to homeless’) and those issues of disruption and displacement seemed fitting to explore for Sydenham. Research showed that in the days of Sydenham Borough Council[1] it followed the values of its motto ‘deeds not words’. This historic focus on action was echoed in one particular piece of writing that people contributed to ‘stuck in the maze’ – ‘I want this to (m)end’, something I’m sure will resonate with all Christchurch residents.

Over four days (5 – 8 December 2017) we worked the text ‘I want this to (m)end’ on the chain link fence at 456 Colombo St as part of First Thursdays in Christchurch.

[1] In 1876, Sydenham became a Borough with its own governance and revenue gathering. It followed its own motto “Deeds not Words” and was soon renown for its quality roads, sewers/drainage and street lighting. By 1876 a Post Office had been established in the area and by 1878 the tramlines had been constructed as far as Brougham Street. Sydenham was Christchurch’s first Borough outside the inner city and had a population of 6,500 by 1876 – half the size of Christchurch City, and equal to all the other suburbs combined. It was already developing its own distinctive character: radical, dissenting and working class, a heartland of left-wing politics in New Zealand. The Borough of Sydenham was amalgamated with the city in 1903.

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Worked on temporary fence at 456 Colombo St, Sydenham as part of First Thursdays in Christchurch, 7 Dec 2017