– Riccarton, Canterbury, New Zealand

Our first Christmas in Christchurch was exciting and relaxing, my mum Margaret, aged 71, came down from Auckland on the 21st of December and we decided to give our four children money for Christmas presents.

Boxing day began and we prepared to go to Riccarton Mall for some retail therapy!

My husband Bill took Harrison, Duncan and Benjamin to EB games and then Borders. While I took Violet and my mum to the clothing shops, we were in jay jays clothing store just before 10.30am. Violet went to try on some tops and mum and me looked at the sale rack.

A few minutes later the building began to shake, ceiling tiles shock and white powdery dust filled the air, people screamed and rushed for the exit! I grabbed my mums arm and looked around for Violet age 11, Violet came out of the changing room with white dust in her hair. Violet was laughing and my mum was upset she hadn’t felt any aftershocks while she had been in Christchurch.

We waited about 3-4 minutes then walked towards the Borders exit, people were crying, hugging each other talking to each other and confused. Technically the mall was still open and trading but most people were leaving the building.

The boxing day quake was a 4.9, it caused damage to the inner city area, there was no loss of life but it showed that the city was venerable to property damage…. The worst was still to come…

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