Watch: The community man documenting the city’s rebuild

87 year old Ivan Hibberd has taken thousands of earthquake and rebuild pictures with his point & shoot camera. Join him as he shows our reporter Gordon Findlater around some of his favourite spots to photograph.

VIDEO: Geoff Sloan, Gordon Findlater and Bridget Rutherford

Every week Ivan Hibberd ventures around Christchurch armed with his small digital camera to document the way the city has changed since the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

In spite of having little background in photography, the 87-year-old has taken more than 4000 photos of the rebuild.

“I’m just keen on Christchurch,” he said.

“It’s a good activity, you meet a lot of people.”

Mr Hibberd, who spent much of his life working with machinery, said most of his photos were stored in the cloud until deciding what to do with them. He said they documented the city’s history.

They ranged from new buildings to the demolition of old ones, such as the implosion of the Christchurch Central Police Station. Although, he said he would have been better with a video camera for that one.

“I only had a little camera and all I got was a pile of rubble.”

He also photographed Twinkle Toes, the large excavator used to demolish tall buildings after the earthquakes.

Mr Hibberd said he was onto his second camera, a Canon, because his first one broke about six years ago.

“I was photographing the earthquake-damaged buildings on the corner of Cashel and High Sts and there was a piece of iron sticking out of the footpath. I stopped to take photos and as I moved I tripped over it and did my camera in.” Mr Hibberd said he then wrote a letter to the city council.

“I’m fairly well known around the council, I told them I’d lost 30 photos that day and I was doing it for heritage and
I told them it was a $120 camera. Then a cheque arrived from the council for $99.” It’s not just the rebuild the father and grandfather likes to photograph.

He takes photos of the birds in he and wife Helen’s Belfast garden.

Tending to their vegetable garden and plot of sunflowers was “one of the great therapies in life”, he said. Although Mr Hibberd is retired, he still volunteers on the Canterbury Workers Educational Association council, helping to organise the courses.

Last week he received a volunteer recognition award from Volunteering Canterbury for his contribution to the association since 1984.

He has also been heavily involved in the Belfast community, helping to set up the Belfast co-ordinating committee.

In September, Mr Hibberd is set to also receive an award
for his 60-year involvement
with the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand Canterbury

Mr Hibberd said he was interested in the city’s heritage. He knows what building work was happening around Christchurch and has been into most completed buildings.

When asked how he managed that Mr Hibberd said: “Cheek.”

“I walk in backwards so they think I’m leaving.”