– The Palms Shopping Centre, New Zealand

22 Feb 2011 started off as not a normal day – I was off on annual leave as my daughter was having her wisdom teeth out at 3pm.

Myself and my daughters went to The Palms Shopping Mall to have some lunch before the extraction of her teeth.

We had just left Farmers and were walking to the food court when the shake happened. There was no where to run. We stood like statues unable to move. We had a rubbish tin by us that we knelt beside. My youngest daughter who was 15 screamed and looked up to the high ceiling only to see the sky and the thought of all the glass smashing on top of us.

When the initial shake finished we ran towards the exit only to be told by someone to slow down… there was no way we were slowing down.

On the way running towards the exit we ran past what we thought were two bodies face down on the ground, however the closer we got we could see that it was 2 mannequins fallen out of the shop window – phew.

A huge dust cloud was escaping K-marts entrance as we flew past.

We stood outside the mall on the other side of the road for ages and watched the streets fill up with water and muck.

We pulled up our jeans, took off our shoes and waded through the streets hoping that we wouldnt fall into any holes (as you couldnt see the ground) to get to my car that was on ground level.

Luckily my car was not damaged as the car next to me had a bit of the carpark fall on it.

What would normally take around 15 minutes to get home took about 2 hours and it wasnt until then that we saw cars eaten up by the ground and liquefaction and that Christchurch was in trouble.

My eldest daughter is so lucky that she wasnt sitting in the Dentist chair at 12.51pm that day.

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