– Botantic Gardens & Tumara Park, Parklands.

23 December, beautifully warm, typically early summers day in Christchurch. I was walking with a group of people in Hagley Park by the events village near Victoria Lake when all of a sudden that dreaded roaring, wrenching feeling arrived. The trees, trees well rooted down for centuries shook their tops angrily. I clung to my support worker as she and the rest of us were flung around.

“Earthquake!” people yelled.
“Aftershock, don’t move, stay together,” our support workers yelled trying to bring calm to us terrified people.

We sat back at the BBQ and then just left. I got a lift home, too frightened to drive, and anyway was told not too.

Sitting outside a block of flats sometime later I remember seeing a helicopter rising from the ground, minutes later the six magnitude hit and I had to feel the violence for another time. I heard glass breaking and the car I was in rocked on its wheels. I cried.

At home Mum, Dad, my brother and his girlfriend were waiting for me to come home and wondering whether to escape this hell again. The garage was a complete mess, my bedroom had a CD tower over, the teddies on my windowsill were on the floor, the cat had disappeared again, but the tent my brother had set up was still standing. And the parents bedroom door – after six months now opened!

I went to South Canterbury afterwards for a while and now live in Timaru. 23 December 2011 shattered my trust in The Garden City probably for good.

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