– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Sept 4 2010… I am woken by someone running across our roof – WTF??! ‘EARTHQUAKE’ screams my husband as he dashes from the bedroom. I register vaguely and my heart skips a beat. I touch the touchlamp. For a split second there is light, then the power goes. Dash down the hallway, and I hear glasses and plates smashing in the kitchen. ‘Shit, this is a big one!’ i say. “I’ve got L (daughter)” says the hubby- hell, my son N – I am barely awake but my heart is pounding….dunno how I get my 11mth out of the cot but I do and am back in the doorway of his nursery. He is limp and nonresponsive..is he alive – what was above him? Oh shit, bigger shaking. This time I have to brace myself with my backbone against the jamb and my toes on the other – as I have both hands holding my son. [I got nerve damage to my big toe from this- 6 mths of numbness]. My husband has the cellphone on radio via speaker. We keep saying to each other ‘Poor buggers in Wellington – this is the BIG ONE!’...then we find out it is 40km west – WHERE?? No fault there. The shaking finally stops. My son now waks up and screams for milk. There is no way to heat the stuff in the fridge, and no water for a warmer formula….screaming child, crying child, we fall into our big bed. Listening to the radio and people out Kaiapoi and Brighton way say we have sunk 1/2 a metre- seawater everywhere… [actually liquifaction, but who knew?]...I doze in and out of aftershocks, not really sleeping. Around 5.30 there is a helipcopter overhead, then the neighbours arrive. Power back on around 10am, water about 3pm…

Dec 26 2010 – another big shake, and now the chimney has a large crack. Bit worried bout that…

Jan 21 2011- EQC call for the Assessment. Happy to see them, but I know we aren’t the worst hit – what’s going on? They tell us the chimney looks OK, just a crack. They go into the atticspace and shake it – “Don’t worry, it’s safe as, that is solid, won’t be moving in a hurry”

Feb 22 2011 – We are all out of the house – thank god as the Chimney DID fall, and into the kids bedroom. So did all the bookcases, spilling contents across doors and over beds! [They are now firmly secured as is all other dressers and such…]

I am at work, enjoying the end of the lunch break. A colleague remarked about 12.30pm “we haven’t had many shakes for a while, eh – must be settling down” – she is NEVER allowed to say such things again!

12.51 – it starts like a normal shock, but then after about 2sec it is clear this is NOT an aftershock – the power goes out and serious shake sounds. I dive under the table. There are about 10 of us sitting round a board table at the University of Canterbury. Only three of us get under it (all female); the males all run to the walls, benches, doors and window latches to hold on -WTF!?? Except our HR manager – straight out the door. He’s a flighter… I am full of adrenaline and giggly – I can conquer the world, but can’t think clearly. Outside we have bets on what it was – I think 5.8-5.9; other’s think 8.0…we are laughing and joking to dispel nerves and adrenaline. Security tell us to leave. I drive home – which takes about 21/2 hrs, usually 15mins… Naively I think the traffic is just cos of the Uni closure. I txt my husband to pick up the kids, as, working in Cashel st, he won’t be so badly impacted….

I don’t get a response. I flick on the radio to hear 2 buildings collapsed and the spire of the cathedral has fallen – sad. {I still have no clue how bad this is….}. On Wights Road I hit liquefaction bubbling out of the road – shit, that is weird. As I cross over Lincoln road into Lyttleton st, a caller states “Don’t go down Lyttleton st – it is a mess” – Great….I hit severe liquifaction on Barrington st, on Whychbury Barrington cnr there is a house with liquifaction POURING out from under the garage door! More on Coronation, hell…
I get home to see my husband and kids in the driveway- along with the Chimney and roofing bits. THANK GOD!!

“There’s liquifaction all down barrington adn Coronation, and Selwyn shops are all come down”

“Honey – that is NOTHING compared to the city”.... I never want to hear that tone of voice again. A shocking tale of walking out of the city – but that is his one to tell.

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.