NZ MEGA 2012 - Newsletter 5 - July II 2012

NZ MEGA 2012 - Newsletter 5 - July II 2012

Registration and Accommodation Update

Here are some updates and tips on the registration and accommodation process.

  • If you indicate that you won’t be staying onsite, we will send you a PayPal invoice for registration straight away.
  • If you indicate you intend to stay onsite, we will wait for you to submit your accommodation booking, before we generate a single PayPal invoice covering both registration and accommodation.
  • Bunk rooms are starting to fill up, if you’d like to stay in these get both your registration and accommodation bookings in sooner rather than later - these are assigned on a first in, first paid basis. There are only 36 bunks. Preference will be given to those staying all three nights.
  • If you are wanting to share a bunk room with other geocachers, but are booking independently, make sure that all of you make your registration and accommodation bookings around the same time.
  • We aim to close off the cabin accommodation requests at 31 July, and inform those who have been allotted cabin accommodation in early August. This will ensure that there are 2 and a half months left to arrange alternative accommodation should you miss out. Get these requests in soon! :)
  • Please note that we will be slow in accepting cheque payments for most of August. Electronic payments will not be affected.

Geofeet Usage

We have had an unexpected level of interest in Geofeet, and questions about using Geofeet on items such as pathtags and other items. The Organising Committee, in consultation with the designer, has agreed to allow Geofeet to be used under Creative Commons licensing, specifically Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license.

What does this mean? You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified. Specifically, we request that any item that includes Geofeet, needs to include exactly the text ‘NZ MEGA 2012’. If the item is listed on a webpage or directory, and that webpage contains a description, the description must contain a link to http://mega.gps.org.nz/ or, if linking is not possible, at least http://mega.gps.org.nz/ in the description.
  • Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Geofeet can only be used for personal items. You can use commercial companies to design and manufacture the items, individually or in bulk, but these items cannot then be sold through a commercial store.
  • No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. We respectfully ask that you use Geofeet as provided, and not edit or modify his appearance.

Now that the official bit is out of the way, we’d love to see what you do with Geofeet! Email photos or designs to mega@gps.org.nz :)

Post-earthquake Christchurch

by Gavin Treadgold (rediguana)

We’ve had some questions about the reality of visiting Christchurch as a part of their NZ MEGA 2012 road trip.

As an emergency manager, and a local living in one of the affected areas of Christchurch (Parklands - that has suffered heavy liquefaction in multiple quakes), I would recommend visiting Christchurch for many reasons, some of them unique.

But is it safe? Well, in terms of buildings and earthquake safety, Christchurch is probably the safest built environment in New Zealand now. Everything that has suffered major earthquake damage has either been pulled down, or is cordoned off and in the process of being pulled down. Everything else that is unsafe has cordons around. Christchurch buildings have had a lot of earthquake assessments. Everything that is standing and open to the public has lasted through hundreds of significant quakes and has been thoroughly assessed by engineers. As an aside, the quakes have caused buildings across New Zealand to be closed, and you may well see buildings in Timaru, Oamaru, and Dunedin that have been closed for earthquake strengthening.

Of course, as geocachers spend a lot more time outside, we’re at even less risk anyway! We are unlikely to be injured or suffer a worse fate as a result of natural hazards. With the amount of time we all spend on the road, motor vehicle accidents still present the greatest life safety risk to geocachers. Still, if you feel an earthquake, you should DROP, COVER, and HOLD.

Roading is also worth noting – some parts of Christchurch have reduced speed limits due to uneven and patched road surfaces. Additionally, there are numerous road closures and repairs underway, so you have to be somewhat flexible when navigating through Christchurch. The roads are nothing to scare a geocacher away though! Just be prepared to follow signage, drive a little slower in places, and keep an eye on the road surface – just like driving offroad.

That’s all the negatives, now, what about the positives?

Christchurch is an extremely interesting place as a result of the earthquakes and all the changes. If you have visited Christchurch pre-Sep 4 2010, then you really should visit just to see how much it has changed. The photographs and video you have seen don't really prepare you for seeing the scale of the destruction in person.

There are all sorts of interesting community recovery projects underway around the city, including very interesting artistic projects called ‘gapfillers’ that spring up on empty sections.

The manner in which businesses have adjusted to the ‘new normal’ is nothing short of amazing. Projects like the re:Start container shopping mall, and many pop-up container businesses around the city are well worth a look. They could all do with your custom, even if it is just for a quick coffee before hitting more caches!

There are interesting sights that are a testament to the power of the earthquakes - a well recognised quake landmark being the twisted Medway Street bridge (see GC3C5TB Seismic Sculpture). This may end up being left as a monument to the quakes. Many of the houses either side of the river have been ‘red-zoned’ and purchased by the Government. Currently there is a significant effort underway to turn the river boundary into a significant recreational resource that runs from the City to the sea. There are also series of caches that take you near locations that were used for earthquake operations and the cache descriptions contain historical information about the earthquakes.

Christchurch is still the main travel hub to the South Island, and many of our NZ MEGA 2012 attendees will be arriving or passing through Christchurch. Tourism vendors have been heavily impacted by the earthquakes, and so every visitor to Christchurch and Canterbury contributes significantly to their recovery from the earthquakes. Even Lonely Planet is extremely supportive of tourism in post-earthquake Christchurch, and have released for free download an update of the Christchurch Chapter.

Whether a first-time, or repeat, visitor to Christchurch, this is a unique time to see the damage that can be inflicted to a city by earthquakes. It is very different to the Christchurch of old, and in 10-20 years time, it will be very different again. It may become one of the most modern cities in Australasia as a result of the rebuild that the ‘clean slate’ central city redevelopment allows. Foreign Policy magazine identified Christchurch as one of the top 10 cities to watch this century, as it has near a clean slate from which to rebuild with modern urban design.

The earthquakes absolutely haven’t put a damper on geocaching, and our caching events often feature 40, 50 or more local geocachers. There is a good chance that there will be a geocaching event in Christchurch a few days before the Mega, which will allow visitors to meet up with local geocachers, to discuss geocaching, and if you’re interested, our experiences with the earthquakes.

Society Geocoin Sales

With the recent adoption of PayPal, we can now look at international payments for the remaining stock of Society’s geocoins – the 2010 Canterbury Earthquake, and 2010 Pike River Mining Disaster geocoins. The coins are NZD20 each, with NZD5 from the sale of each coin going to the official Government Earthquake Appeal. Postage costs have yet to be determined, but if you are interested in purchasing the coins, please email geocoins@gps.org.nz. We cannot guarantee that any of these will be available for sale at NZ MEGA 2012 as they are selling rapidly.

Until next time, happy caching!

Kind regards,

NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Commitee, and
NZ Recreational GPS Society Inc.
http://mega.gps.org.nz - mega@gps.org.nz