– Spencerville Rd, Styx, Christchurch

Woken from a sound sleep our eyes flew open and saw nothing, heard the rumble, felt the shaking start to build and both said ‘earthquake’. We leapt from bed and headed for our walk in wardrobe (small space – lots of framing). My thoughts we’re no…no…no… this can’t be happening. The noise was tremendous, things falling and breaking the roof creaking, glass smashing. We clung together as if our lives would end. As the shaking slowed we felt the floating motion, that we now know would have been our land floating on liquefaction.

We scrambled to find torches and the battery radio. Venturing out into the main part of the house I thought we would find fallen ceilings and broken windows, but miraculously things looked relatively normal. The fridge had walked across the kitchen floor and wine bottles had ejected from the cupboard and some smashed. The smell of red wine filled the air.

A neighbour knocked on the door to ask if we were OK, and wondered why there was so much water about, had it rained heavily, no-one heard it raining. Several people from the street gathered to express their shock and one family jumped in their car and drove off for fear of a Tsunami. Was the quake at sea, on land, who knew. Minutes later they were back as the nearby bridges were unpassable.

I tuned into the radio and it seemed forever before reports came through, buildings down in the city. Power out everywhere, water out too. After cleaning up a little we returned to bed… what else could we do till morning. Shakes and rumbles carried on.

Next morning my brother sent a text saying that nearby houses could be evacuated and to come over if we needed. But the evacuation never happened.

We were caught with no drinking water so grabbed a container and walked to the Civil Defense Sector Post but there was no-one there, not realising that the hall was damaged. We later found CD out on Lower Styx Road and a nearby resident filled our container from his bore…bless him.

Later that day still with no power and no water, ground still shaking and still feeling stunned I remember hearing someone mowning their lawn and it seemed so weird, as if nothing had happened!

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