We are now struggling to live with the aftermath of an earthquake. We are also congratulating ourselves that we were extremely lucky when it struck, and as well as 99% of our of our citizens who were safely tucked up in bed. Not wandering the streets of the City and making them selves prime targets for falling masonry, glass, and other material, that was being shaken, mainly from our ‘Heritage Buildings’. In fact the aftershocks have never stopped. We have now experienced some two or three hundred at least. However unless they are in excess of 4 on the Richter scale, they are being ignored. We all are getting very tired and exhausted. In fact we are all waiting for another ‘Big One’, and finding it difficult to get to sleep. My daily drive across town is something I have to do in order to see my wife who is ‘in care’ at Papanui. It is a most frustrating experience. The problem is you never know which road or street they are going to block off next. Constantly you are being redirected, what with our one way system, it all adds to the problem. You alway end up having a very long roundabout trip.


I’m constantly being reminded of a cartoon published during the War by Giles which has stuck in my memory. This was at a time when the UK populous was being terrorised by a German ‘Vengeance Weapon’ the flying ‘Buzz Bomb’. It showed a large crowd all looking skyward, they all had one very large ear. One was saying, ‘We are not bothered at all by Hitler’s latest weapon’. We are the same, all cracking hardy, but when each shake arrives we are all waiting for it to magnify into something large.


On my daily drive I come across some very incongruous sights. Like a church spire at Merivale, standing apparently undamaged along side the church in the parking area. Blocks of apartments where one wall had fallen away leaving the interior exposed and untouched, but a long fall if you jumped out of bed and wandered the wrong way. The companies who are doing well, are the ones who hire out red cones and portable fences.


The ferals have quickly adapted to the situation. One crowd who were discovered looting, were all decked out in Civil Defence Uniforms. Others have quickly reverted to type, when taken in after spinning a story of having no home that was habitable, they then quickly reverted to type and proceeded to burgle the good Samaritan’s home. Or just plain freeloading in the emergency centres. They are also very resourceful too, armed with a wheel barrow and disguise, it’s surprising what they can shift. The Mayor and the Police quickly put a spoke in their wheel by imposing a curfew from seven in the evening to seven in the morning. What’s more, they enforced it. The latest ploy that I have heard of is that they are now posing as Building Inspectors. The Borough workers have been wonderful. Water and power were quickly restored to most of the town. Anyone who neglected to store fresh water and some alterative form of heating/cooking deserve to stay unwashed and the eating cold meals.


Initially I didn’t think our current Mayor had a snowballs chance in hell of getting himself re-elected with the Local Body elections next month. Standing against Jim Anderton in a town that historically leans towards the left. Jim had declared that he would run both jobs. One as a leader of his Political party, a job he now has, as well, Mayor of Christchurch, ‘To save the Country the cost of an By Election’. Was his By Line. This statement has proved to be a very bad case of shooting himself in the foot. It took a large crisis in the form of a major earthquake to prove just how wrong this thinking was. He has changed his mind overnight, seeing how decisive the current Mayor has been. Some councillors are muttering, they would like meetings, something New Zealanders are very good at. But this was not a time for endless talk. When you have no water, electricity, sewerage, or phone, you want action and that’s what we got. I would now give Bob Parker better than even chances of getting himself re-elected. So in my thinking, Jim had better resign himself to another three years commuting to Wellington if he wants a cosy job.


If you are interested in finding out more about earthquakes their strength and origin, Mark has just given me this site.


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