February 22nd 2011 12.51pm
shark last edited by
If you were in Christchurch, what was your experience?
I was parked up just down the street from my hairdresser on Settlers Crescent in Ferrymead. I was probably looking at work emails or facebook on my phone. More likely the latter. All of a sudden there was this violent shaking, kind of a side to side and bouncing motion. Street lamps swayed violently, cracks appeared in asphalt straight away. This was one hell of a shock. I'd missed the quake the previous September so this was by far the largest 'quake I'd ever experienced.
I pulled up into the car park at my hairdressers and then moved again when I realised I was parked in front of a large pre-cast concrete wall. Clients were outside with the staff, foils in hair, colour running etc. For a while, the hairdressers went into clean-up mode (foils out etc) so the ladies could leave. One left regardless, mid-colour. I decided to drive across town and drop my hairdresser off at her place (Merivale way I think) and then head to my niece and nephews' school on Clyde Rd.
Liquefaction was rising rapidly. It would have been ankle deep by the time we made a move. I crossed a traffic island on Ferry Road unwittingly, as it was submerged, to get to the Mega Ferrymead car park. Traffic was gridlocked heading towards the CBD, so we decided to take Linwood Ave and skirt around the Four Avenues. Linwood Ave was slow going also. We were listening to the radio and regularly trying to call and text family and friends. I puffed a couple of darts. A report came through that the near-new control tower at the airport had collapsed (innacurate as it turned out). There was talk of loss of life. Smoke and dust billowed up from the CBD and as we drove farther down Linwood Ave and turned onto Gloucester St, we started seeing the occasional person walking, covered in ash/dust/debris and one or two also had blood on them.
We got to Fitzgerald Ave, then Bealey Ave and then eventually to my hairdressers' place in Merivale. Still no contact with family at this stage and unbeknownst to me, my sister had only just made it out of the Globe Cafe on High Street and was walking all the way home to St Albans/Mairehau. Had I known, she would have been the priority. I proceeded on to my niece and nephews' school only yo find out they'd been collected by my sisters' partner at the time. I think by now I'd finally heard from Mum and maybe Dad. Both were ok. Mum was in Halswell (largely unaffected as opposed to the September quake) and pretty much just chilling. Dad's apartment was in the CBD - just - so I asked him to come to my rental in Avonhead, but he ended up at my sisters'.
I then went to my flatmates' kids' school in Avonhead but they too had been collected, so I headed home. About then I heard my sister was ok. Phew. I had to scramble over a fence as I'd gone out through the garage door that morning and had left the snib lock on inside the front door. Oops. Then I got in through an unsecured window. We didn't have any power, and I was at a loose end. My Mum and step-Dad owned a Night n Day store on Riccarton Rd and they were heading there, so I went to help (I didn't know what form that was going to take). When I got there, they'd opened it up and a queue of people were outside asking to buy things. We spent the next couple of hours taking an order at the door (short of the dodgy looking canopy), getting the items, taking a rough cash payment and moving onto the next person. We didn't know it at the time but hours earlier a chap had died in a car not 10m away in front of a building with another dodgy canopy.
It was close to dark when we finished. Naturally there were no 'staples' left ie bread, milk etc, or 'fresh' food, or alcohol, or cigarettes and plenty of other things. I went home. My flatmate was there, with his kids, and we cracked a beer. I lit the bbq to boil some water and cook some lamb chops. A few minutes later we regained power. The rest of the evening we were glued to the tv.
I recall the company I worked for were pretty quick to tell us we had the rest of the week off and that our building, plant was being checked etc. They offered some advice re phone charging and told us we could fill up on the company if we chose to go somewhere.
The next day I went to the shop to help clean up and the day after my flatmate and I headed to his girlfriends' neighbourhood with spades and a wheelbarrow and just dug liquefaction for hours on end. We cleared a couple of houses. We'd had various people come and stay with us the previous couple of nights. We were lucky we had power, but no-one had water. Bathing consisted of buckets of water and soap. On Friday, my Dad - unable to return to his place inside the CBD - and I drove to Dunedin to stay with friends of his. All the service stations were nuts. I spent a large part of the trip making calls to arrange Tyvek brand over-alls for USAR staff, which was pretty cool and felt like a contribution to the recovery as I drove in the other direction. At McDonalds in Oamaru I washed my hands really thoroughly for the first time since Tuesday, and upon arrival in Dunedin we had showers. Possibly the greatest shower ever. That night we went out for a few beers and at bars throughout the Octagon, locals were wearing red and black face paint.
We went back to work on Monday but all we did was jump in a ute and head to a work mates' badly affected house and got digging again. I think over the next couple of days some normality returned in terms of routine, but whilst my memories of the 22nd itself are vivid, that time is a bit of a blur. I can't believe it's been ten whole years!
Kiwiwomble last edited by Kiwiwomble
I was in my office building on Armagh street
Once the shaking stopped we stood and looked out the window to see the Cathedral Spire fall behind the buildings across the street...and then got the hell out of there.
ran to my wifes office, she was on the 18th floor. i spent about an hour and a half in front trying to call her, filled the time directing tourists to the park rather than waiting in front of historic buildings
When i finally got a text from her she told me to get our car and go get her dad, he lived on the hill above redcliffs and was recovering from cancer
I ran up the ramp of the rydges hotel carpark hitting the button on my keys as i didn't know where she had parked, found it and got out...and spend another couple of hours in traffic trying to get out of town and thinking going into the carpark was probably a bit dangerous
The Fire department got my wife out at about 5 oclock from memory, she was in one of the buildings where the fire stairs collapsed and so have to dropped down through several floors
i hadn't even made it to Moorhouse ave when she text to say she had got out, i parked up and walked back to meet her, we got to redcliffs to get her dad at about 630...he was standing in the middle of a semi collapsing house with no memory of the event or the hours after...although to this day the slightest shake hits him hard
the following week or so are a bit of a blur, didn't have power for a week or so and water about ten days, missions to get petrol and food, an epic BBQ where i cooked all the meat in the freezer, driving the father i law to tekapo where my brother in law could take him to queenstown, helping friends clear liquefaction etc
both the wife and i were back to work within a couple of weeks, me doing asset assessment on the sewerage network...that was horrible...truly horrible, especially when getting clean was still difficult
and then five years of fighting our insurer over out 7 week old house...if a couple who works for the largest engineering consultancy in the country and a leading construction lawyer struggled to settle with their insurer for five years...im really worried how many people got ripped off
shark last edited by
Ten years today. Wow. Horrible loss of life, a vastly changed city scape and so many different individual stories of the day. Feel free to share yours.
I was early for a haircut at Settlers Crescent in Ferrymead so was parked up on the side of the road, looking at my phone (maybe work emails but just as likely I was on Facebook). It suddenly started shaking violently. A side to side motion mostly from memory. I could see street lamps swaying. This lasted for a while but I don't think it seemed all that long whereas others recall it seeming to last for ages. Cracks opened up in asphalt footpaths and driveways but I think the road at that stage was ok. I pulled up into the driveway of my hairdresser where they'd all come outside. Ladies had foils and colour in their hair. There were lots of tears.