Christchurch Earthquake: “realising there is only one way out”

Danielle is another former colleague of mine, and another person I always think of as being calm and collected. She has found a clear positive as a result of the earthquake – a new career – but that takes nothing away from the fear of Feb 22 and subsequent aftershocks.


What was a negative emotion you felt on Feb 22?

Fear is what I felt when it happened. Being at the back of a high storey building I was worried about it collapsing, the ceiling panel falling beside me, and realising there is only one way out through the shop because the emergency exit out of Adventure Centre was blocked.

Then fear for my partner, who works on the 2nd level of a building on Hereford St. He was not in NZ for the Sept quake, so was worried for him as this was his first experience.

I remember seeing the Cathedral coming down with each shake and watching as injured people were pulled from the rubble. I didnt know this at the time, but I was told some those people were dead.

What about a positive emotion on that day, or over the course of the following week?

Relief when my partner found me in the Square, having him there to hold me through each aftershock.

We then walked from the City centre to Harewood through Liquefaction, listening to the Radio updates thinking how lucky we were to have survived such an ordeal. It wasn’t until a few hours / days later that everyone realised how damaging and fatal the quake was.

For me, I lost my job, but a good thing came from that – I found a better job. I am lucky my house is not majorly damaged.

Christchurch Earthquake: “the relief as people start checking in”

Dave Jackson is a university student from Hamilton whom I discovered on Twitter, somewhere in the lifetime of the #eqnz hashtag (which has become Twitter shorthand for everything Christchurch has been through over the past year and a half). He was in Christchurch until before Christmas 2011, studying at Canterbury University (where I also studied). He thus experienced both the first September 2010 quake and the big one a year ago today.

Dave was kind enough to let me cross-post a few words from his blog. The full entry is here; his words below are about getting home at the end of the day.


I sat down at the computer and the full extent of what had happened hit me, the checking in of people being OK and telling friends that you were fine. Then bed, snatched grasps of sleep between aftershocks. The booze and the sleeping pills looking tempting as hell, but you want to make sure you’ve got all your faculties about you if you need them.

Emotionally it was a frantic day. The initial panic of the quake, followed up by a sense of relief. Then the unease as you hear what happened, about the destruction and deaths. Then there’s the panic as you haven’t heard from people, the relief as people start checking in, and then as you get home to find power is back on you take a break, because you know that tomorrow is going to throw some challenges at you you never thought you’d face.