– Richmond, Christchurch 8013

For the 22 February earthquake I was lying on our bed reading on the third story of our concrete house. The noise and movement was so violent that, for the first time, I thought I need to get to a doorway for safety. I got off the bed but couldn’t walk I tried to crawl but could not do that either. After the shaking stopped I went out on to our deck and called out to see if our neighbour were alright. We live in a closely built community of houses. They were fine but shaken. I then tried to get out of the house but all the doors had jammed. I called out to neighbours who helped open a door so I could get out. My wife was out on an errand and I was concerned that she would be allright. She was but it was an hour before I knew this. A young man in shorts who had been working on the road was running down our street calling to every home to see if anyone needed assistance. A neighbour down the road was wandering around dazed and distraught because his wife, who had only got her licence the day before, was out driving. I spent a short time with him, made him sweet coffee and tried to settle him. Our immediate neighbour, a young Irish woman, who lost everything in the September earthquake was wondering down our shared driveway in a disturbed state. She couldn’t contact her husband, a doctor at Burwood Hospital. I bought her home made her a sweet drink and talked to her until her husband arrived home after about an hour. With no electricity we did not know what was happening. But we knew it would bad. We live close to the city centre and there was a lot of dust, lots of people walking who told us of terrible damage in the city center. The roads were clogged with cars that were abandoned everywhere. I was unable to settle so decided to tidy up our study and kitcken, both of which were in a terrible mess . I finished this put the saucepan on the gas hob for a cup of tea when an aftershock created another mess. The radio gave us good information but we felt very disconnected for our city not knowing what had hasppened. We later found from our children, who all live in other centres, that people outside of Christchurch had a far better understanding of our situation than we did. Also there was a sense of dispair that this had happened to us again. We could not get out of our street as the road was so damaged. A 100 meters from us lateral displacement (we live next to the Avon river) created a hole into which 4 cars could fit lengthwise with all them below ground level. A neighbour had a well from which we got water until we had our supply restored 2 weeks later. Electricity was restored after about 8 days. My wife’s sister, husband, 2 teenage girls and large dog lived with us for about 8 weeks as their home and rest home were both destroyed. For a week the four families of our close neighbours shared an evening meal and supported each other. This was wonderful time and greatly helped. Ten months on we still live in our home which is damaged but repairable and await a decision on our land. Our zoning is still orange. This is unsettling but we are determined not to fret about it and eventually we will do what needs to be done. It is daunting to enjoy a full and ordered life and to think we may have to start again. We love christchurch and will definitely stay here. I visited the central city recently and found it distressing. Life has reestablished itself by living in a city that has no center. I have to find new suppliers for all those mundane things we buy – car tyres, the hairdresser, computer cartridges, coffee supplies and the like. In many cases they have either disappeared or relocated. So much has gone. I still cannot read of or see the results of the earthquake without feeling quite sad and frequently feel quite tearful. But I am optimistic about our fine city and its people.

Tell your story Report this story

Report this Story as Inappropriate

If you've noticed any inappropriate content in this story or feel that the story contains privacy violations, please fill out the form below.

We'll review your report and remove information that is in violation of our policies.

We'll only use your email address to let you know about the result of your report.