Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 2, 2011

the mail always gets through

Great to hear this morning that NZ Post has started delivering mail around parts of Christchurch.

No power, no toilets, house falling down around you, but hey, here’s a bill and a Warehouse flier.

Sarcasm aside, it is one aspect of normal life Cantabrians will be pleased to see.

Every person I have spoken to in the past week knows someone in Christchurch. Even one lady today said her husband had cousins down there they contacted over the weekend (probably not for the past 10 years, but hey, you’ve had a natural disaster). Again, what is it with the sarcasm today Kate?

Listeners to Jamie Mackay’s Farming Show were treated to three minutes of rivettingkatetaylor this afternoon.  A bit about Young Farmers doing their bit as part of the Federated Farmers-led Farmy Army (gotta love the name – it probably comes from the same staff member who coined a Lord of the Rings phrase for the Horizons One Plan … “one plan to rule them all…”) , the fact I used to work for CTV (albeit in another building) and then into some of the media coverage of the events down there.

I shouldn’t have named one reporter, she wasn’t the worst by any means, but she asked a young guy who had just made it out of the CTV rumble “You’re covered in blood, and dust, and smoke… how are you feeling?” That shouldn’t be in quote marks because it might not be exactly the way she asked it. Her replied….. “alive”.  Stark. Like the reporter at Aramoana near Dunedin in 1990 (shall remain nameless, but not me) who asked the man who’d lost son or daughter, an in-law and a grandchild how he felt. To which he replied, “how the bloody hell do you think I feel?”  Too right.  That’s a phrase that should be banned from all media lips forever unless you’ve just won the Rugby World Cup.

The unedited footage from TV3 straight after the quake was a bit much to handle. What if someone had come out with absolutely mind-numbingly horrific injuries or that PGC building had collapsed further with that nice lady sitting on top.

Even the Press managed to get a paper out the next day and had footage on its website that night.

 It’s all a far cry from the Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931.  A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region at 10.47am on Tuesday, February 3, 1931, killing 256 people. It remains NZ’s deadliest natural disaster. For how much longer? They are expecting 200+ in Christchurch despite modern building codes etc.

Within four days of the quake, cinemas around NZ offered news specials about the disaster. Amazing. And here we were, within an hour, getting live coverage.  Like the Press, the papers of HB did their best to keep publishing. Immediately after the 1931 earthquake, the only published editions of the region’s papers were daily news bulletins, as the newspaper offices and plant were badly damaged by the quake.  (While the Press building in Cathedral Square suffered major damage, the actual printing press was several kilometres away from the CBD.)

Both the Hawke’s Bay Tribune (which lost a reporter under masonry from the Post Office) and Napier’s Daily Telegraph, which also lost a staff member inside the building, both had news sheets out with two days. The first full-sized paper wasn’t published for a couple of weeks.

(The Hawke’s Bay Herald building was destroyed and its paper was printed by the HB Tribune until the two merged in 1937 anyway (later merged with Napier’s Daily Telegraph to become the current HB Today).

Anyhoooooooo, like back in 1931, people were expected to be able to cope on their own for three days.  The lovely man on the telly has been telling us to be prepared for months and months and months now. We should be prepared to last on our own for at least three days!

I have the food, blankets, torches, battery-operated radio and water in a wheelie bin out in the woodshed if we can’t get into the house in a state of emergency.

Rural people tend to be more well prepared anyway, because we’re used to only going to the shops once a week or once a fortnight or less frequently than that even.  We have fully stocked pantries, usually vegetable gardens, we have lots of bits and pieces on the farm to fashion a makeshift fireplace and there are usually muttons running around in the paddock.

Are you prepared?



  1. thanks for all that- My Dad was a volunteer ambulance driver in Napier after the 1931 HB ‘quake- his voice is in the HB ‘Quake museum, witness recordings-he’d just arrived from Sydney, smitten by my mother whom he’d met there, & had returned home- he was hoping to pop the question. They did marry-which is why I’m able to write this! He and she are long gone, God rest them, but any mention of quakes`remind me- I’ve felt several bad ones in Napier when visiting. Poor Chch- then Japan- watch out for my book, the HB one is in there, a flashback. Rgds, Rosamund

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