Lows and Highs in Christchurch

Last week I spent some time in Christchurch, with family and friends, and went door-to-door distributing food and advice with the Green team in the hard-hit suburb of Aranui.

Everyone is suffering trauma of one sort or another. My friend, who was in the Cathedral Café when the rocks came down. My relations with badly damaged houses – who won’t have proper water and sewage for quite a long time.

But it’s not all lows. In the heart of Aranui I saw celebration of community. In one place there was a big fire place on the front lawn, with a pile of wood, where neighbours had been cooking food together. The next door neighbour commented that “it shouldn’t take a disaster to bring us all together”. But together they now are.

Tears came to my eyes last Thursday morning as I watched the Student Volunteer Army mobilize at the university. Hundreds of high-spirited students arriving with their shovels for another solid day attacking the ‘liquifaction’.

It also made me think. The Facebook Generation is making history, not only in the Middle East, but also in our own country. The selfless dedication of the Canterbury students was something to behold, and should inspire us to greater efforts to help the people of Christchurch.

5 Comments Posted

  1. Hi Keith

    Its all very sad, but as you say, a disaster like this has a wonderful way of bringing out the best in people! A friend of mine was working in Christchurch and found the entire episode terrifying. Luckily he was unhurt, but its clearly effected all of us in some way irrespective of our location.

  2. We were alongside working containers in Lyttelton last night. 4.8 shock and the wharfies just kept on working. From a crane driver. “people pay good money for a ride like that”. From the pilot. “The barbers shop is open but you have to wear a hard hat to go in”. Pudding basin cuts only I assume.
    Humour and a lot of effort and courage from people who have had their houses demolished and no power and water.

  3. Good on you Keith, lets hope that good can come out of this disaster and the sense of community is retained and becomes an integral part of the culture of the new Christchurch.

  4. Well said Keith; your young caucus colleague would do well to read what you have written, or perhaps what you haven’t written.

    My daughter is at UC, and I am very proud that she stepped outside her comfort zone to shovel silt in the last 10 days. She and hundreds like her have made a visible difference, and deserve nothing but acclamation.

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