March 19, 2011

Christchurch Memorial Service

As you can see from my previous posts, I have been away overnight on our annual class trip to swim with the dolphins in Kaikoura (more on that later... ), but yesterday, the Christchurch Memorial Service was held...  I am not sorry to have missed being there in Hagley Park, as I still struggle with crowds and blocked roads, but I am pleased that so many people did make it there; that Prince William visited us all, and Hayley Westenra came home to sing. I was sad to miss seeing them both...  I am sure their presence here has been seen all over the world!

If you missed it - just click on these links to see them all.....

Pics of Prince William in Christchurch

Prince William visit

Pics of Prince William and others at the memorial service

Prince William

A few really good videos have appeared from the service. I want to blog just two of them and will add a couple of links too.

The first is a sombre view of the massive destruction that 20 seconds of massive shaking can do to a city.  Damage from an unknown fault line; a different one to the other previously unknown fault line that ruptured in September last year.  It may only have been a 6.3, but the arrangement of the hills magnified the shaking to 2-3 times the force of gravity, and reduced the "swampland" areas of the city to rubble...

The campus where I have worked for 14 years is in Madras St, still in the "Red Zone" and we have not had access to it for the almost one month since the quake. We are a city campus, on the outskirts of the CBD and the places you see in this video are just up the road from work.  I, like thousands of other Cantabrians, have dined in these restaurants, danced the nights away in these nightclubs, shopped and lunched and been entertained in these streets. Travelled in buses through the city, done a weekly tv show in the CTV Madras St building, now just a forlorn tower. My son was married in the church across the road, the one with the single bell in the broken belfry, also in Madras St.  My youngest son works in a hotel further up Madras St, or did; the building is now almost split in two and he has been made redundant.

I hope you never see your city reduced to this.......

The earthquake has caused massive hardship to so many; still having a massive impact on lifestyles and habits.  You think differently... you now see and hear things that never occurred to you to care about before.  Crowds, tall buildings, verandahs, building facades, tile roofs, brick walls, concrete blocks, in fact, all masonry, bridges, riverside roads, large rocks, cliff faces, lifts, how stairs are secured to buildings, where the escape routes are, carrying torches, water, wondering where the water comes from and does it need boiling, all rumbling noises, all vibrations.... The impact covered both the rich and poor, those living on hill sides and flat lands, homes and businesses. Even if their homes are untouched, I doubt there is anyone in Christchurch who can say that they have not been affected somehow, and will continue to be for a long time too. Whether jobs, schools, tourism, the arts or just travel round the city, no one escapes it all.

On a positive note - check out my next post which has a video a tribute to the USAR teams the community and the recovery process.

You might also like seeing Hayley Westenra sing Amazing Grace

and also them all singing our National Anthem - a tribute to the support of all New Zealand for Christchurch.


  1. Hi Fi I've watched the meorial on TV in tears. It was very moving and brought some hope. We went for the first time to sumner and saw the places were the landslides were and were the rocks came down. Hard to take it all in.

  2. Fantastic post Fi xx I'm feeling everything in it and getting back to 'normal' in Auckland... well it's affected my way of thinking up here also - what's beside you when you're driving; i seem to see cracks bigger in areas of our house [partner has now marked one to see if i'm right and things are moving lol]; tiredness from the last 3 1/2 weeks catching up on me and just bawl at work because people are being so nice [somehow that always starts me off!]. Then there was the memorial service last night at Auckland War Memorial Museum. It was beautiful and something really special, the girls from the Rangi Ruru kapa haka group performed [many had lost their homes in the quake] and brightened it up at that stage... my paper hankies were becoming rather...munted... the catchword of the last month. I sat there sobbing amongst the sobbing... hearing it all around me - there were many Cantabrians at the service and i had a workmate say to me "you can tell the ones who have been through it [the earthquake] their crying is different". I know what she means, it's right from the gut and the heart at the same time.

    You and yours take care Fi


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin