– Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand and Christchurch

The Story of my Family in Emails – after the 22nd Feb. 2011 earthquakes.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011 11:54:49 a.m. ( I had arrived back on the 21st from a trip to Auckland and was emailing my friends to thank them.)
1) Dear Raema and Rex,
Got back to ChCh on time after a bit of a bumpy ride at the end and am just catching up today – it has been raining so no gardening today.
Hope you got home safely Raema and thanks for taking me to the airport and of course I can’t thank you enough for all you did to make my stay so great.

my god we have just had a major shake and I feel so shaky everytning id swaying. love H

2) To my son in Seattle referring to the Christchurch family of Sarah, Martin and the 2 grandchildren Tom and Jess
Dear Michael,
I am OK – the shop is a mess but S and M are OK though they have not been able to get in touch with Tom who is at home alone. We can’t get through to the city at all now on cell or land line and its very difficult. I have gone to be with Eric and some other friends and we are all trying to get hold of relatives. Earlier on I heard from Sarah and she was going to get S from school. There are casualties this time. I wonder how we will recover.
Love Mum

3) To Raema and Rex, I am OK – am with Eric and some other friends. the shop is a mess – have only had a brief cell message from Sarah. She was going to get Jess from school but hadn’t been able to get hold of Tom who was at home so now no way of contacting them. Everyone is trying to get hold of family. love Hilary

4) Dear Michael, I am going in to pick up Sarah and children then will be home – my phone should be working there so you could try in a couple of hours

5) From Michael in the USA
How horrible. I tried calling but couldn’t get you or Sarah. Talked to Anna who said Tom has been contacted and is okay. I hope Jess and Kirsty’s family are all okay. It must be so hard. I can’t believe it’s even worse this time. I’m thinking of you and will try to call you later on your mobile.

6) From Michael.So Jess is OK?

7) From me -Yes. Sarah is walking to get her as she doesn’t have enough petrol

8) 22nd Feb 9.30pm.
Dear Friends, Thank you all so much for your very kind messages and calls. It was extremely frightening even though I had very little damage ( as far as I know) but so much worse for the ChCh people. It is so hard to believe all the deaths and injuries could happen here.
We are fortunate that all the family are safe and Sarah Martin Jess and Tom are staying out here with me. Their new shop is of course closed – no power and lots of cracking in the walls and damage to stock – they had to get out without even emptying the till, then it took Sarah 2 hours to get across town to pick up Jess from school. Tom was home alone when it hit so an awful shock for him. They had lots of breakages – all their good china and glasses smashed, all the bookcases fell over and just about everything fell out of the pantry. It took me ages to get to them too with traffic almost stopped and streets deep in water and liquefaction. Their car was being fixed and now it is under a collapsed building so another complication.
We cleared up as much as possible but they will have to go in tomorrow to see what can be done about the shop – hope to get refrigeration back on.
At least they have good insurance cover now.
I just wonder if we will ever recover. It is such a blow just when things seemed to be improving. We keep having more and more aftershocks so know they will continue for months which is quite unnerving.
and I had just come home from a lovely summer holiday in Auckland – Thank you again to my very kind Auckland hosts.
Will keep in touch, Love, Hilary

9)To friends in England
hi Jill and David,
http://quake.crowe.co.nz/ Do have a look at this.
I am off to bed Love hilary

10) To Michael in USA. Donna is my sister. Her husband taught in a Language School in the CTV building.

Tuesday 23rd Feb.
Yes, there is hope. Donna is in Latimer Square with Kirsty and Wally’s sister in law Maggie.
S and M have gone in to their house – a nightmare driving in with roads worse than yesterday and detours. Love Mum

11) from Michael in the USA
11.18am: Police say a camera sent down into the CTV building has found a pocket
of 15 people alive but trapped.
No details on their condition are available yet.

23rd Feb.
12) To a relative in Dunedin,
Dear Noeline, Thanks – That is what I had – some bad news Wally is in the CTV building and Donna has been told there is no chance of them surviving but they are still saying they are looking for survivors, So I don’t know what to believe, Love Hilary

13) To a relative in Melbourne
Dear Graeme, really sad news now. Donna’s husband Wally was in the CTV building where he taught at an English language school and Donna has been told that there is no chance of anyone surviving.Love, Hilary

14) Dear Michael,
That was one of those rumours. You probably know by now that there is no hope for anyone in the CTV building. Donna was told about midday that everyone would have died – asphyxiated.
She is remarkably composed. Maybe her religion helps. There are people with her now and I will go in tomorrow.Love , Mum

15) To a friend in Rangiora
Hi Richard,
Thanks for the message in your email.
It is now certain that no one has survived the CTV collapse – so very sad for my sister, the family and everyone else. It is a cliche now to say “it is unbelievable” that this could happen to Christchurch but so true. I wonder how we will recover.
Are you going to work? I hope your family are all OK. I had a little message from Florence about her birthday party but I was in Auckland so couldn’t hear it.
Kind regards, Hilary

24th Feb.
16) To friends in England
Thanks Pat and Ron,
We are been told that there are no survivors and no one know how long it will be before the families have the bodies for burial so a real tragedy. My sister is amazing but it is early days yet. She has strong Christian belief so will have comfort from that.
I think I will have Sarah and family here for quite some time – until power water and sewerage systems are back.
Love Hilary

17) To friends in the North Is.
Dear Ngaire and George.
Thank you so much for your kind message. It is indeed devastating for us with Sarah and Martins newly opened beautiful cheese shop once again closed down.
And even worse my sister’s husband Tetaki Tairakena is one of the teachers lost in the CTV Building so tragedy is all around.
I am safe in Rangiora and a refuge for the family, having power and water so may have them here for a while.Thanks for the offer but at this stage I would not want to be anywhere else.
Just came back from week in Auckland where I stayed with Raema and Rex
Love Hilary.

18) Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 13:31:31 +1300
Dear Hilary,
I have been thinking about you and your family eve since the earthquake struck. It must be absolutely horrible for you all.
We just want you to know that we have a large house with plenty of spare beds and if you and or your family want to get out of the region for a while you have free accommodation here for as long as you need. Please do not hesitate to say if you would like to come. It would be the least we can do.Love Ngaire and George

19) Subject: quake
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 11:40:10 +0000
Hi Hilary,
We were pleased to hear from you & to know that you are safe, so sorry about your brother in law though, how dreadful to be trapped under all that rubble, my brother in Australia tells me today that the rescue workers have started looking in that building again for possible survivors, you can but hope. We are thinking of you all out there Love Pat & Ron

20) Hi Rosalie,
Thank you. I have just talked to Donna and think you must have been able to talk to Rachael but here is the address just in case.
I have Sarah and family here – shop closed again just 4 weeks after reopening in the Arts Centre so heartbreak all around.
Love, Hilary

21) Subject: Give my love to Donna
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2011 07:46:01 +1300
Dear Hillary,
Please give my love to Donna please can I have her address as I have baking to take to her . Mary will be Wally’s Angel now as well as being our Angel to all of us. I am sure Mary will cope as she was always good at Multi Tasking !. Peter and I are thinking of you all Love Rosalie XX

22) To relatives in Dunedin
Dear Jos and Noeline,
I think you asked for Donna’s address
There are no postal deliveries at the moment but I am sure she would love to hear from you.
Donna is managing remarkably well. She has Rachael with her and is going back into town this afternoon to Latimer Sq. where relatives are allowed near site.
She has been told that she will have a police contact person assigned to her. It may be days before anyone is identified. love ,Hilary

23) To relatives in Nelson
Dear Pam and Mike.
Thanks for your call – I can’t remember if it was before or after we found out that Donna’s husband Tetaki (Wally) Tairakena was caught in the CTV building so now listed as missing but no hope and not yet found in that terrible collapse. Donna is coping remarkably well.
Sarah and Martin will be with me for a while I think. They are struggling to save the cheese but are not allowed into the cordoned off area until maybe Monday. Lots of love, Hilary

24) 27th Feb.
Dear Friends,
Thank you all so much for your concern for us here in Canterbury and particularly Christchurch – even though I am out in Rangiora which had very little damage in spite of Tuesdays quake being felt sharply I feel heartbroken for Christchurch and its people – my old home town.
As for our family the tragedy is that my sister Donna’s husband Tetaki (Wally) 60 years old is amongst the missing in the CTV collapse where he taught at the English language school. Donna has been told it may be up to a month before some will be identified so a long tense and sad wait. She is coping remarkable well and has a niece Rachael staying with her in her house which has electricity now but no water and toilet to add to the trauma of the situation.
The same applies for Sarah and Martins house so they are all staying out with me indefinitely. I am so pleased that we have this refuge for them. A lot of people have left the city but many have nowhere else to go. I picked them up on Tuesday and we did the basic clear up of all the smashed china and glass and food scattered around in the kitchen. The house has more cracks but will be liveable once services are back on. Both the children’s schools have major damage so who knows how long they will be off school. Jess is keen to stay out here and go to a local one but we will have to wait and see.
Today Martin has gone in to town to see if he can get through the inner city cordon to the shop which they had to abandon in a hurry, leaving all the food now without coolers and refrigeration for a week so probably all the cheese ruined and bread and other foods going off. They really need to get their records and want the money from the till. There is one glimmer of hope for the business as they are in a more modern building which seems undamaged and houses the Arts Centre admin office whereas the rest of the area is devastated and nothing will open for months/years. If they do get to reopen they will be the only food outlet in the area where there will be lots of workers as well as the local residents. They had only been open for 4 weeks in their lovely new place and had just had the busiest 2 weeks ever when this dreadful disaster hit.
I know we are in everyone’s thoughts and thank you again. I am sorry its a “mass” email.
We will keep in touch and I will let you know how things go in the next few weeks.
Hilary and family

25) 19th Mar. 2011
Dear friends and family, Here are a few photos for you. My camera is not the best – a bit grainy and not as sharp as my other big one. It was a wonderful farewell to Wally and I did enjoy getting to know everyone so much better. I feel my family has got bigger! Thank you Alex for your lovely photos too. Love, Hilary.
Note. There was a memorial service in Christchurch at the Rehua Marae on 13th March followed by the Tangi for Tetaki Tairakena at Rukumoana in the Waikato.

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