– Harewood, Canterbury, New Zealand

My first thought as I came to consciousness was – why the hell has someone flown a plane (or had they driven a train?) into the side of my house? The knocking and banging was deafening! I launched up out of bed only to find the floor of my room heaving up and down and left and right and I tried to make for the door.

Somewhere, in the midst of trying to keep my balance and get across my room, I realised this was a massive, massive earthquake. I clung on to the door frame as the shaking slowly subsided and eventually peered around the corner into my flatmates room – he was on his bed still with his arms outstretched bracing himself against the wall. We looked at each other and simultaneously swore – very pronouncedly!

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