Saturday, February 26, 2011



Today I have begun to feel more able to function. I'm sure limiting the time I watch the reports from Christchurch has helped.

Today I felt as though we were slowly being brought face to face with the full reality of the earthquake. There is public admission that many dead are not only unidentified but unfound. I guess I should have realised that all the USAR, Urban Search And Rescue, teams are here for a serious purpose. While part of me knew many people were killed by the earthquake, somehow my mind refused to acknowledge the awful truth.

This will be the most dreadful disaster to ever happen in New Zealand. Not only are many people gone from this world forever but the social and economic impact will be felt for any years to come. I have seen comments that place the financial cost as greater than Hurricane Ivan, (2004). We were in Pensacola, Fl. on the 6 month anniversary of Ivan and saw for ourselves the destruction of Santa Rosa Island and noticed the blue tarpaulin roofs everywhere we went in coastal Florida. If the great United States of America takes time to recover from major disasters we are in for a long and sometimes frustrating time of rebuilding. I've seen figures bandied about that suggest the cost could be as high as $25 billion when added onto the September 4th earthquake. That's mind blowing but I can well believe it.

Like all small countries that have developed a successful tourist industry we will be hard hit in that area. We have become very dependent on tourists for income and tourism operators will need to work very hard to keep the flow of visitors into our country. This makes me feel very nervous about our economy. I don't envy people who are responsible for our economic health over the next few years.

Personally, we'll stooge along and hopefully keep our heads above water.

This is turning into a gloomy kind of post and I didn't intend to do that.

I want to celebrate the resilience of people and how New Zealanders are helping each other There are some wonderful stories. The best one by far in my opinion is the following video. I cannot embed the video even if I knew how, because it's from TV 3 News and Campbell Live. I do hope you'll have a look at Christchurch's Super-Loos.

Another is in this clip about the Volunteer-Army. It's so heart warming to see this, all done through the power of the internet.

And finally one woman's first hand experience. It will touch your heart and might make you cry but so powerful. I shouldn't write anything more but simply give you the link. THE DAY THE EARTH ROARED

I love this story too, about a helicopter pilot. You will also find this link on FaceBook to the Rangiora Earthquake Express. While official efforts are starting to reach out into the suburbs mostly the people have been isolated and it's the Rangiora Express, The Student Army and constuctors of Super-Loos that are their heroes.

We've had a busy day. This morning we went back to our house. Matarangi is 20 minute drive from Mum's where we are staying for a few nights, to finish the cleaning. We were preparing the house for weekend guests when we heard about the earthquake. Somehow the house cleaning became unimportant as we hungered for every little piece of information we could glean. We had to come over to Mum's on Wednesday so our daughter could have a well deserved break. After finishing the cleaning and having a lovely soak n my bath, (it soothes my itchy skin), we returned to have tea, (dinner) with Mum then had to go back to Matarangi to greet our guests who arrived about 10 pm. Now at Mum's, John has gone to bed and I'm trying to get this published.

Now I've confused all my American readers. The Earthquake was 1 pm Tuesday, we came to Mum's early afternoon Wednesday. Today is Friday, well it was, it's now nearly 2 am Saturday. Still confused ... don't blame you. I think I am too.

There has already been one earthquake today, just a very small one but yesterday there were 42 and one in particular caused a lot of concern. About 7.15 pm there was a 4.3 which shook things up a lot and made more buildings at risk of falling. Total since Tuesdays big one, 255 in 85 hours. I'd be a nervous wreck if I lived in Christchurch.

I do hope you enjoyed reading and watching some expressions of the Kiwi Spirit. I think the Super-Loos should feature in Home and Garden glossies.

Time for bed. Goodnight and many Blessings on you and your family.

Thursday, February 24, 2011



My Dear Friends,

My heart is breaking.

We've just seen pictures of damage in our favourite suburb, Merrivale. The rescue people are now searching for people under the rubble with dogs.

The search for survivors has moved into the suburbs and smaller buildings.

It's believed that there are maybe 150 lost in just 3 of the larger Central City buildings.That is beginning to sound like the tip of the iceberg.

International teams are arriving. They are very welcome. We need them. Everything seems to be extremely well organised. The logistics of feeding volunteers, providing somewhere to sleep and ablution/toilet facilities are mind boggling.

There is huge generousity from the community with food supplies for volunteers and other workers, being made free of charge by SuperMarket organisations, today at least. Most of the warehouses are functioning so supplies are not quite as disrupted as might have been. Some areas have eftpos facilities so people can access money again. Rural communities are not badly affected. City people are being offered temporary accommodation by other Cantabrians and people all over the country.

The damage is unbelievable. Communities are reeling. The organisation of rescue teams and restoration of infrastructure is going ahead in an orderly way.

It sounds as though over 1000 International USAR, Urban Search and Rescue, with specialised equipment are either in the city or about to arrive. Our Prime Minister has a scheduled phone call with President Obama.

At last the workers can be put on a roster system of 12 hour shifts. We are being told by media observers this is a well oiled machine. Even the mayor suggested September 4th was a Training Run for this. I must admit I doubt if we would have got things moving nearly as well back in September. There seems to be an extra-ordinary ability to strategise and make the best of all resources and reach areas in good order.

It helps that a military exercise was in process as the Navy, the ship Canterbury, was in port, Army on the ground and Airforce instantly available. The Canterbury is feeding hundreds of people in Lyttleton.

Yesterday our city son was out on Road safety. He's in shock. He found many people wanted to question their efforts to keep roads free for emergency services. Where they are using soldiers there is not the same questioning of authority. On September 4th he worked 13 hours straight with little food and water. This time he is going away for the weekend. It's a totally different scenario.

Many Christchurch people still have no power so have no idea of the overall damage to their city and the rescue efforts going on. They aren't getting the message to keep off the roads and stay home except for essential trips. They haven't heard that communities, neighbours, need to look after each other rather than depend on the official efforts.

View Larger Map


Deans Ave is to the left on this map, on the other side of Hagley Park. I'm sorry I did not find a static map of this area to embed but you can get a better idea of the layout of Christchurch by making it larger and playing around with it on Google Maps.

There are always idiots, rubberneckers, people going out to take photographs, people who complain about the mayor and his workers and of course looters. There is a report that at least 6 have been arrested and someone who is holding vigil for a loved one trapped in a CBD building has had their house burgled. Not hard when the windows are smashed and the doors sprung open.

Our Government declared a National Emergency. This is the first time in New Zealand's history this has been done. It enables the Government to take action to get essential services up and running as fast as possible and make good use of military personel and International offers of help.

Our Prime Minister made a Chrurchillian State Speech. We can do this. New Zealanders pull together. We will survive and be strong.

He is assuring us that the economic shock will not be as severe as some might think. That said, many people have lost their income and it's almost certain that most buildings within the four avenues will be years in restoration. This is an area of about 3 square kilometres, about 1 1/4 square miles.

Our city son will have work for years to come. The company he works for does road construction. But Wayne and Amanda have a business they are growing. It's called Baby On The Move and was growing nicely with a lot of hard work being put in, mostly by his wife, a trained nanny. Many of their clients were tourists or grandparents etc. with visiting families. They have no idea how long before they will be able to operate again. They have a show room at their home. This is closed as the building is damaged. They have no idea how long before their home will be fit to live in as there is no power, no water, no sewerage, damaged roof and walls. It's fine to camp in.

Yesterday they moved to Hornby, an undamaged part of the city to stay with friends. They had plans already in place to go to a Baby On The Move Conference in Hastings this weekend. Tomorrow they fly out of the shakey city. They are living day to day and not thinking too much about next week.

Statistics. I've been looking at the Christchurch Earthquake statistics and they are mind boggling. Since September 4th which is now being called the Training Run to prepare us for the Big One. As I write there have been 4000, shakes since September 4th. The last one was less than 30 minutes ago. There have been 30 so far today, 74 yesterday and 63 on Tuesday. That's 166 since the one that brought the city crashing down. At least three of today's quakes have been more than 4 on the Richter Scale.

Many people in the damaged suburbs still have no idea of how badly damaged their city is. We were talking to our son last night who was watching TV in the friends home, where they are staying. He was shocked. He had driven around parts of the damaged area during the day in the course of his work. He had ridden his bike around the previous day, shortly after the quake to check on his father-in-law and another relative. Thankfully all were safe. He had seen first hand the damage in the Sept. 4th quake and he'd been getting reports via radio and through his work Radio Telephone. The pictures have shaken him.

Our other son lives south of the city in an area that was barely affected although he said it was a nasty shake. He was preparing a batch of concrete to truck further south to Hororata. This tiny rural community was featured in the September earthquake when the historic church was seriously damaged. Both he and his partner will be able to carry on their lives as usual.

There will be many people, vulnerable people, disabled, elderly and children who are not coping with this major earthquake. They are all being carried in my heart and prayers. There will be many fathers, mothers and other family providers who are in despair of how they will care for their families this time. I met someone at New Year who was taking a break following the September earthquake. He was struggling, his child would not stay in a room alone, could not sleep in his own bed. This is the hidden toll of such an event that no-one talks about.

Some people will carry on as though this is just another disaster and not be affected. We feel shattered. This is the city of my husband's birth. Members of his family have lived there for a century. We are deeply affected and know the places we are seeing which are now broken. Our heart's are sad. We feel for those who have lost loved one's. This is a very personal journey for us. We might live many miles away, 1100 km/683 miles, a journey by car of 13 hours including the ferry crossing of Cook Strait, but this city is dear to our hearts.

We've had to turn the TV off. The stories are gripping us and paralysing us. We are limiting our viewing. I does no one any good for us to hover over TV feeling sick with anguish.

We are comforted that Christchurch will rise up again. Different but equally beautiful, I'm sure. Why not better than before? We have the examples of San Francisco and New Orleans to give us hope.

As I finally publish this post there have been 37 earthquakes today, 1 pm.. The latest was 20 minutes ago, magnitude, 3.7, depth 6km or about 3.7 miles. That's 7 in less than 3 hours, 173 in the last 48 hours. I'm glad I'm not there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The first photo is a map of the quake area. Many of the aftershocks are causing damage.The second is the main route from Christchurch Cathedral to my City sons home, about 5 km
The second map shows Brighton, and Lyttleton.

10 am

Those who are able are packing up and leaving the city. I wonder how many will leave permanently. The scientists are in shock and suggest Christchurch. may never be safe again. I guess that's the extreme view and comes out of the individuals own shock and fear. This man said there needs to be a lot of money go into research of the ground structure before there is any rebuilding.

The face of the city is changed forever.

Some overseas tourists have been evacuated with nothing but what they stood up in and their blanket and pillow given to the to make last night a little more comfortable.

At this stage I believe my family will stay put and become part of the rebuilding.

There are many USAR, Urban Search and Rescue, on the ground with more coming from Japan and USA. More help is also on the way. The Australians are here.

Many people are still trapped alive.

Water and sewerage are out and power is out over a large part of the city. We still cannot reach our city son by phone. There are problems with the water supply and any are without drinking water and many SuperMarkets closed so supplies cannot be replenished. Another logistic nightmare to get enough water into the affected suburbs.

It's a shock when you here the Minister of Civil Defense say people will have to bury their waste including poos in their back yards.

Five people were rescued last night from one of the worst hit buildings. There are also several dead. Right now another person has been rescued alive as I write.

It is sounding as though the CBD between the four avenues is wrecked. What stands will have to come down.

Rescuers are working through numerous shakes.

Outer suburbs are being reached by the army. Ambulances cannot get through.

All we have are helicopter pictures of Lyttleton. The route to Lyttleton, the port, is over or under the port hills, a mountainous road which is severely damaged and as far as I can tell the tunnel remains closed.

The suburb of Brighton, is cut off from ambulances and the army are there. News outside the CBD is sketchy. I guess we need local radio to get more information. TV seems to be caught in the CBD and again are not getting much footage of other areas.

The reporters have said that if they leave they will not be allowed back through the cordon.

11 am

Just talked to my son who is on Road safety duties out near the sewerage ponds. A damaged area. He is busy so didn't chat.

I am supposed to be preparing our house for weekend guests and packing to go stay at Mum's while our daughter has a break. It's hard to leave the TV. The news is gripping and horrifying. Ths is one of our favourite cities and we know it well. I just want to cry and cry.

Must get on with my own life. Sitting here is not helping anyone. It's painful day.

Will update later today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


2.30 PM

The pictures are awful. The news is bad.

Many people trapped and fatalities.

My sons will be caught up in this.

We have no news of them as yet.

I'm praying they are all safe but no guarantees.

We will be glued to TV for rest of day.

Our Prime Minister is going down in a helicopter in next few minutes.

Much damage.

It will be a rough time for the rescue people.

Hospital being evacuated.

1 pm many people on the street and at work.

Communication not good but satellite TV

3.30 PM

There are three triage sites. There is at least one serious fire. People are in that building. The firefighters are using helicopters and monsoon buckets as it is impossible to get fire fighting traffic in.

Ambulances are being supplemented by private vehicles.

The Christchurch Cathedral is severely damaged and the spire has come down. We hope all the people got out but it has been suggested there were people in the tower.

Most of the people are out of the Press building but some remain trapped under their desks under loads of rubble..

Gas is being shut off. This is the reticulated gas for heating and cooking.

There has been a huge landslide at Sumner.

I can't imagine what has happened at Lyttleton. This is one of our major ports and was severely damaged in the last quake. This earthquake was centred near Lyttleton. The Navy are there off the ship Canterbury. It sounds as though there is not the same concern for trapped people but buildings collapsed. A reporter who walked over the hills to get there says the people are gathered on their front lawns making a cup of tea on a primus.

Again Liquifaction, sand acting like water, is causing serious concern. Roads are a mess.

It sounds as though every home will have damage if only the stuff falling off shelves.

People are leaving the city.

Central city is being evacuated.

Many aftershocks.

Many people trapped in buildings. Very dangerous rescue work as buildings unstable and much damage and rubble.

Buildings that withstood the September earthquake have collapsed. It's a mess.

Still poor communication and we have no idea how one son and his wife and her parents are. Amanda's mother was in hospital recovering from a stroke.

One son and his wife are safe. Again they were away from the area of serious damage.

It's a disaster and I can't imagine what ur other son is having to cope with as he will be out with road safety.

Naturally we are anxious. We have other relatives in Christchurch. It's the town John grew up in.

8.30 PM

Most people seem to have found a place to go tonight. There are several welfare centres. People from the city centre gathered in nearby Hagley Park. This park had marques and buildings being prepared for the Ellerslie Flower Show which begins in two weeks. There are about 1500 people there and the army is organising blankets. It won't be a comfortable night and the aftershocks keep coming.

Many of these people are tourists who cannot go to their accommodation and only have what they took with them on their day out sight seeing.

It's hoped to open the airport tomorrow, probably a limited number of flights. The earthquake disrupted all flights to and around NZ and there are many people stuck in airports around the country.

It is thought there may be 200 or more people trapped in buildings in the Central City and there are officially 65 dead.

Specialist urban search people are at work. With help from Australia there will be 200 searchers tomorrow morning.

I'm pleased to say all our immediate family are safe. Our city son has quite a lot of damage to his house and liquefaction bogged their cars. Wayne is not able to go to work at this point and the job he would be doing will be down to the police Navy and Army who, by coincidence were in the area. I understand there are about 500 military personnel available. There was also a medical conference in the city. 200 extra Doctors are now helping. The city is virtually closed down.

Medical services seem to be well organised. It helped that the Christchurch hospital was not seriously affected and has been able to continue taking casualties while some are being medivac'ed out to other hospitals.

Searching will continue through the night. There is now rain to complicate things.

It's terrible and very sad to see this beautiful city going through tragedy.

TV is keeping us well informed and we will need to turn it off soon or we will never sleep tonight.

Our eldest son lives in the country and while they experienced the earthquake they had no damage. We'll contact John's cousin tomorrow night to see how his family are and hopefully he'll have news of other family members.


This is awful.

Not at all good. Expect some loss of life.

I have family somewhere in this mess.

Family should be safe but one will be out on the road on Road Safety Duties.

We are terribly upset.