Tim Walker’s Red Zone Squatters

Ever since that fateful day in September 2010 where half of Christchurch either collapsed or was suddenly rendered ‘unsafe’, there have been people to capitalise on these unfortunate circumstances.

Looting came first – idiots breaking shop windows and helping themselves to whatever they could grab with two hands, as if ‘crisis’ was just another word for ‘everybody now has permission to forego the natural inclination to look out for your fellow man, and to start acting like lawless pillocks’. Of course this was followed by vandalism and other senseless acts of desecration/violation.

That was years ago. Yet even now, as Christchurch is being rebuilt, that same kind of idiocy is apparent: senseless desecration, petty theft and essentially, violation. Obviously, one could easily assert, given the gutless nature of these misdemeanours the perpetrators must be idle teens, loitering youth, restless rapscallions or indeed, local reprobates of some other variety…

Who would have believed this ongoing scourge could have drifted in from abroad?

Admittedly, Christchurch has always flaunted a reasonably high rate of crime and having the city thrown into tremulous disarray by a barrage of terra not-so-firma quakes, has only exacerbated the issue.

The main problem now, after so called ‘dangerous’ housing has been vacated by its respective owners, seems to be maintaining this vacancy.

Personally, there’s a whole lot of logic in occupying a dwelling because nobody else is; realistically, although they’ve been deemed dangerous, these houses aren’t about to topple over – more likely an EQC assessor snagged his shirt on a nail in a doorjamb.

So people are squatting. Good for them. Makes sense – so long as they understand that they are there at their own risk: beware of falling ceilings and such.

In fact there’d probably be no issue at all if the aforementioned malingerers simply left these ramshackle surrounds as they entered them, which is to say, devoid of faeces…

I’m an open minded guy. I am accepting of most unusual practises. I’m into some pretty weird shit myself, but this shit bothers even me. International Freedom Campers, freely camping in a condemned building. I take no real issue with that, but common sense surely suggests that they take their defecation breaks outside..?

Yes, we are descended from animals but hear this: generally speaking, birds don’t shit in their nests, dogs don’t shit in their kennels, sheep don’t shit where they sleep, horses don’t shit where they eat and nor do cats shit on your lap.

Must be a German thing then.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Daph E Kate

Photography by A R Swipe

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