'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Monday, 6 September 2010

The Christchurch 'Quake

In Christchurch after the 7.1 earthquake last Saturday morning, life goes on. The centre of the city is still cordoned off until all the buildings have been checked. I suppose if they are not safe, they will be individually isolated and either repaired or demolished.
Most people just lost a few vases and have cracks around the house that will have to be looked at.
Unfortunately strong winds and heavy rains are forecast for the South Island today which is going to be a hassle if roofs are damaged. Tarps in rain are one thing, but tarps in wind and rain don't work as well.

My daughter (19) was in Christchurch last weekend. She was woken by the big one and tried to get under her bed as I had taught her, but it was too low and there was no room. So she made her way in the dark to the doorway and stood there. Her step-mum was screaming for the two little boys, so it must have been quite a noisy affair, along with the rattling and creaking. The two boys were very frightened. My daughter said she didn't get much sleep the rest of that night, nor the next, due to the on-going after-shocks, some of which were quite significant. She said they stayed under the dining-room table a lot. After a while everyone got used to the little shocks. When she flew out back to Auckland on Sunday morning, they were still continuing. I expect she was glad to get back to the hostel and un-moving ground.

9.9.10 Additional comment: In my ignorance I suggested that people in Christchurch would 'get used to' the 'little' aftershocks. But the aftershocks have been very significant (up to 6.1), and are still ongoing. My thoughts are with all those in Christchurch who are becoming terribly worn down and emotionally stressed by the uncertainty of the shakes, let alone the financial and emotional costs to come as the city recovers.
I heard a letter being read out on National Radio this afternoon that asked people to imagine what it was like to be standing up on your steeply-pitched tile roof, trying to replace dislodged tiles while an aftershock of 5.1 tries to shake you off. And additionally, never knowing when another one would come along.


  1. I am glad your daughter and the rest of her family were safe. It must be a terrifying experience.

    I have been thinking of all the bloggers I know in NZ.

  2. Thank you for your kind thoughts Violet!

  3. It is absolutely amazing that this powerful quake apparently took no lives. What a difference between a quake in a well-organised western country and say Haiti. So pleased your daughter is fine Katherine.

  4. Earthquakes must be terrifying. So glad your family is ok. Glad it occurred a piece from Christchurch or the damage and loss of life would surely have been greater. My sister in Wellington said the trimmers woke them up, but they had no damage. There is just no way to prepare to earthquakes.

  5. At the time of writing (Wed 2300 NZ time) I'm still getting reports from friends and friends with friends and relatives in the zone and it's quite traumatic even being this far away (in France) at the moment. I've been keeping abreast of it on TVNZ's website and bulletins too. I think that living in Hawkes Bay (as you did as well) makes one even more aware of what people are going through.

  6. Yes. It goes on. My ex-husband and his wife and two little boys have moved out of Christchurch up to their farm near Hamner Springs. Luckily they have a choice.
    Ironically, the farm is virtually on the major alpine fault line that is overdue. I feel a post coming on.

    And yes, I experienced dozens of earthquakes big enough to wake me at night, while growing up in HB...

  7. Natalie9.9.10

    Thanks mum good post. Just yesterday there was a 6.1 that cut the power.

  8. Yes Love, the aftershocks would make one feel very stressed, I bet. I would just be longing for the earth to settle down.


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