– Rangiora High School, East Belt, Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand

It was my 16th birthday on the 22nd of February, 2011.

I actually thought I was going to die. I was upstairs, at school, and I still remember clutching the desk to hold it in place, not blinking once, staring at my friend screaming ‘oh my god, oh my god!’ There was no time for anyone to scream ‘earthquake’, our teacher yelled ‘get under the desks’ as she was ducking, and most of us already were.

My mum worked in the cbd. She was the main one i was terrified for. I cried hysterically for what seemed like hours as I waited for my dad, which really must have been 10 minutes. We picked up my little brother, got home and tried to get information. As soon as we found the waimak bridge was open we started driving into town.

We ran into gridlock, parked the car and half walked, half ran to where my mum worked. I was still bawling, holding on to my dads hand. We got hugs from random strangers as we passed. My mum was fine, physically.

Less than a month later her building was demolished. It was built in the same style as the CTV and PGC buildings.

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