– University of Canterbury, Kirkwood Avenue, Canterbury, New Zealand

In September my mum, younger sister and me all just woke up in the doorway.

It was the strangest thing. I don’t remember waking up and thinking that it was an earthquake and that I had to get into the doorway, I was just there! We later thought it must have been the fore-shocks that woke us first.

The shaking was so strong, it was very difficult to stay holding onto the doorway.

I pulled the door to my room so that it would stop anything falling off my bookcase from hitting me. The sound was like a train driving through the next room, the roar was just deafening.

Mum and dad were sure that the other end of the house had come down, though we have been very lucky our house only suffered cracking, the garage will have to be re-built but thats all. What surprised me was that it was the first aftershock that took out our electricity, which was when we discovered just how useful mountain bike head lights are.

In February I was showing a friend around university (her second day there).
We had gone into the university bookshop to get her textbooks, took one look at the size of the queue and decided to just look around. We headed to the back of the shop and heard this deep roar, when the quake hit, we just clung to a support beam.

I just stared at the celling yelling at it in my mind “don’t you dare fall down!!”
When it stoped everyone was just frozen, people had just been thrown to the ground.

I dragged my friend out and ended up finding my other friends as the crowd made their way to the big carpark. While we were there the first of the big aftershocks hit and the ground just rolled under our feet, the taller buildings were moving like pendulums.

A strange thing for me was that when I heard the buses were stopped I just didn’t mind, if I had to walk half a day to get home that was just find by me, things in your life are just put into context when these natural disasters hit you.

I was lucky though I ended up walking past my grandmother’s new house and she drove me home. It was so awesome to see her and just gave her the biggest hug.

I’ll never forget these experiences.

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