– Union Street, New Brighton, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

The first one in the night got me to my feet and running for the kids – I bounced between the door frame and grabbed my son (6) on the top bunk and leapt into the bottom bunk with my daughter (4) – both were unaware of what was happening around them as the earth rolled and jolted our little wooden batch by the beach in Brighton….My husband arrived just as the power cut…..which brought the realisation that this was a big one – and the next realisation that we were but 2 blocks from the beach – would it trigger a tsunami- so we packed up, met my sister at the gate with her whanau, and headed over to friends in Aranui – the kids spent the next few hours playing under their heavy rimu table, whilst the adults all sat round in the lounge looking slightly stunned and sleep deprived…Life would be so different from that moment on….the liquefaction, helicopters buzzing overhead, the army, the student army, the farmy army, the sallie army….the smell of sewerage wafting thru the silt laden air….The lack of bird song and the darkness at night – no street lights, just the warm glow of torches and the occasion hum of a generator around the neighbourhood….No surfing or swimming, kids squashed into bed with us at night, broken roads, pot holls, broken suspension, flat tyres…

Warmth, generosity, community spirit, hope, grief, endurance, kindness…

Lots of memories, a shift in priorities, not taking life for granted – all because on September 4th 2010 the earth decided to move….

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