Richard Jenkins came from the United Kingdom to work with Beca in our Hamilton office. After the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes he moved to Christchurch to help with the rebuild.
Richard Jenkins came to New Zealand with his family from the United Kingdom to work with Beca in our Hamilton office. After the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes he moved to Christchurch. We ask him about his experience with moving to a region in recovery.
Q1: What was it like relocating to Christchurch? Richard: Moving itself was surprisingly easy. I came down for a visit and liked it straight away. The move and arrangements were smooth with no hitches at all, my wife got a job within two days, and my kids settled into local schools and quickly made new friends.
Q2: What was the most surprising thing? Richard: Even though Christchurch is a big city, it has a small city feel. I came down knowing a few people and then found that they lived just around the corner from where we live now. Everyone seems to know everyone, I think in Christchurch there is only one degree of separation! I have found people open to talk to and share experiences about the quake. They were all really interested to meet us and hear our story.
Q3: What advice would you give to someone thinking about moving to Christchurch? Richard: My biggest piece of advice would be to go with your eyes open. And to do your homework and know which area you are going to live, especially if you want a place that has a good community spirit and want to feel a part of that community. Just go with the flow, people will be happy to help but you just have to be open and accept it. We found people were willing to talk about the city and happy to give you advice on where to go and what to do.
Q4: What involvement have you had with the rebuild? Richard: I worked in Christchurch before and after the earthquakes. When I was based in Hamilton I used to just fly in and fly out. I enjoy the work much more being based in Christchurch. It is a lifetime opportunity to get such broad experience in one location working on ‘rebuild projects’. We work on a huge variety of projects from commercial to public infrastructure, as there is such a mixture of things to be involved in all around Canterbury.
Q5: How would you describe working in Christchurch? Richard: I was lucky to know a lot of Beca’s Christchurch team already. I was surprised by how friendly people in Christchurch are – people are genuinely interested and share ideas and their personal experiences and that creates a constructive environment to work in.
The friendly people in Christchurch made settling in a breeze as everyone is interested and will help in any way they can. My kids got into sports teams and made friends really easily. This made a huge difference for me as knowing my family was happy and settled made the transition easy.
Q6: How is working in Christchurch different to working in other places? Richard: New Zealand is built on relationships, but the quakes have brought people even closer. People want to work on what is best for Christchurch and produce a good product that has a clear vision for the future. There is great camaraderie between consultants and clients as we all live here so it’s about creating the best option for the community. This is a chance to put my stamp on Christchurch.
Q7: What has been the most rewarding opportunity you have had in your job? Richard: With rebuild projects you really get to see the impact you can have and that is amazing. Seeing my team and the effort they put in to make things right in the city, it makes you really proud. Working in SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) and doing a fantastic job for the Canterbury region is very rewarding. You listen to clients and other consultants about their lessons learnt and learn how to apply them to the work we do. Christchurch really has been an eye-opening experience. It’s a great place with great people and it will be a cool city and an amazing place to live for future Cantabrians.