Monday, February 28, 2011

Christchurch earthquake appeal

Image from

The Mayor of Christchurch has launched an appeal for those affected by last Tuesday's quake. Unlike Australia, New Zealand has been really struggling with the GFC and this disaster is the last thing the country needs to get back on its feet. So many people are uninsured, have lost their homes, possessions and jobs. Please give a little, if you can.

Good news, Melba has learnt her friends in Christchurch are safe.

And what do you make of the Ken Ring, who believes he can predict the quakes?

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

compassion - Bob Parker quote

The Christchurch mayor, Bob Parker, is an utter dynamo. How does he keep going?

A quote today from

Parker on sightseers and rubberneckers.
"It's human to want to look but it's even more human to have compassion for the people who are sufferring."

A great reminder to practice compassion today. Be kind to yourself and others. Think positive thoughts. Practice having faith in humanity.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

wee kittens and awesome Maori guy - more on Christchurch

While the death toll continues to rise in the Christchurch quake, news of random acts of kindness keep coming out of the disaster. Here are a few of my favourites.

Fisher and Paykel have set up a couple of free community laundries in some of the affected suburbs.

The Student Volunteer Army has mobilised 15,000 uni students to help with the clean up.

Some locals have rigged up aquifers, sharing artesian water to neighbours.

Throughout New Zealand (and even further a field) people are offering beds and free holiday houses for those wanting to escape Christchurch. The messages with these offers on Trade Me are delightful, many simply saying “let us look after you”. There’s a plethora of gay-friendly, autism-friendly, allergy-friendly and lesbian family-friendly accommodation throughout the country. One Cantabrian has a refuge for stranded turtles and birds. It strikes me the thought many people have put into what they can best offer, this one is my favourite:
“We are a small family with 2 wee kittens who would love to offer accommodation to an elderly person who would like somewhere to call home for a while. We have a room for you and a king single bed. We have 2 lovely kittens who would love to cuddle up in your lap or just enjoy a pat.”
I so LOVE my homeland!

Facebook has an adopt a Cantabrian page. From offering a friendly ear to custom-making softies for Christchurch kids.

There are many heroes in times of crisis, usually they are nameless. If you’ve seen some of the raw footage that came out shortly after the quake (I’m not linking it, seeing dead bodies can be traumatic) you may have noticed the incredibly strong bloke, lifting massive concrete blocks off a victim in the street. There’s now a facebook fan page to the awesome Maori Samoan guy, if he’s identified, can you let me know who he is. Now identified as Ashei Sopoaga. Got to say, in the midst of tragedy he took my breath away.

According to the New Zealand Herald as of this evening the statistics are:


145 confirmed dead
More than 200 missing
Nationals of more than 20 countries among the missing
329 people in welfare centres
About 120 patients moved to other NZ hospitals
About 180 aged-care residents moved out of Christchurch
About 1200 police in Christchurch, with 324 Australian officers sworn in yesterday
More than 600 search and rescue personnel including overseas teams
More than 1400 NZ Defence Force personnel working on the rescue effort


60 per cent of properties in CBD deemed safe, 17 per cent as safe to access and 20-25 per cent deemed unsafe.
More than 4000 checks carried out on residential properties

341 suburban properties deemed unsafe and evacuated

Power restored to more than 80 per cent of Christchurch

70 per cent of general practices up and running

62,500 people remain without water and 100,000 have no sewerage service.

Australians can donate to the Christchurch Earthquake Fund through our local Red Cross.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011


I tried to write a post yesterday about the devastating quake in my homeland. In the end I deleted the rambling because I figured they weren’t my stories to tell.

But today I noticed Melba mentioned that I’d been quiet on my blog and wondered if my people were ok. I forget sometimes about the life the blog has, almost independent of my own.

Around the middle of the day on Tuesday, my phone started vibrating madly. I’m not wedded to my iphone and it’s always on silent while working. For the next hour and a half, while with clients, it buzzed. I Kept Calm and Carried On, with increasing disquiet, ‘til my I finally got a break. Texts and voice messages all said the same thing “Bad quake in Chch”.

I’m from Wellington a city, unlike Christchurch, built on multiple fault lines. We’ve always lived under the shadow of the “big one”. My immediate family and friends are safe in the capital.

But New Zealand is small enough that the degrees of separation are incredibly low. You always know people in other parts of the country.

Unlike during the September quake, which had seemed shocking enough without any loss of life, people I cared very much about had since moved south. In fact, one of my closest friend’s two daughters now lived there. It was unbearable to think of anything awful happening to them.

I’m relieved to say there are no sad stories regarding them. Being the disaster queen, in my mind I was already jumping on a plane to Wellington to be with my friend. Fortunately that has not been necessary. In an amazing twist of fate, her youngest had already planned to travel to Wellington on Tuesday, her father accidentally booking an early morning flight instead of the afternoon one she’d requested. Number two was safe in her house with her boyfriend, unaware til she had power and able to watch TV the extent of the carnage.

I do know of someone pulled alive but injured from one of the pancaked buildings and everyone seems to have a friend or a relative in Christchurch whose house is unliveable. Until the names of the dead and missing are published the full extent of those degrees of separation are unclear.

Christchurch is a beautiful and welcoming city. I worked for an organization in the ‘80’s based there. On work trips I was welcomed into colleagues homes, fed, watered and given a comfortable bed. In the 90’s in Melbourne I went out with a guy who called Christchurch home. We had a great nights in a groovy bar in Lyttleton (the suburb at the epicentre) and in the old arts complex in the city. I’ve climbed the Cathedral’s spire – triggering my first experience of being fearful of heights! Now the memories have begun flowing, I realise it’s been a city of many firsts for me.

I can’t watch the repetitive television footage of the destruction (nor stomach the Australian egocentric reporting) any more but I’m taking great comfort in streaming Radio New Zealand.

For those who are nervous trying to contact Canterbury acquaintances from afar, the google person finder, though imperfect, is worth a whirl.

To get a glmmer of an idea of what Christchurch residents have put up with since September 4th 2010 I challenge you to run the quake map documenting the over 5,000 aftershocks since the initial event. If you don’t have a spare half hour just click on the past 7 days instead.

I promise no pictures of a broken city but the following two images best cover the spectrum of emotions.

Reportedly taken just moments after the quake from the (Port?) HIlls, the CBD is clouded with dust from fallen buildings.
Sorry I can't find the source of this picture. Please let me know, or ask me to remove if you don't wish to share it.

How amazing are these two guys? Freed at last from the pancaked Pyne Gould building.#finallyahappystory

Australians can donate the the New Zealand Earthquake Fund through the Red Cross.

P.S. An email from an Christchurch ambulance officer, read by Danny Watson on NewstalkZB. Harrowing to listen to but at least there are no pictures.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a paucity of words

2011 keeps rolling on.

I've been lucky to dodge disaster this summer.

I'm practicing being in the moment more
....even when a psychotic ex requested I be a facebook friend.

Deep breaths
...even when I heard my mother has started wandering and now my parents house must remain locked at all hours with the keys hidden.

Instead am focusing on the pretty flowers,

on art,

and reminding myself to feel hopeful

even when I don't feel it.

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