Shaken, but not stirred…


As I sit to write this post this evening another after shock is rocking my home. At 4.25 this morning we were woken by a roaring sound, followed by an extended period of our house rocking and shaking on its foundations. Amazingly, we suffered no damage – apart from a single vase that broke, and a bottle of balsmic vinegar that fell off the shelf in the pantry. We were indeed fortunate. My elderly parents’ house was like a warzone – I spent near three hours with them cleaning up the broken glass and pottery from across their lounge and kitchen.

What the experience has taught me is the value of community and networks. From the moment the first quake subsided, there was activity in our street as people visited each other’s homes to check that things were OK. A little later in the morning, the phone began ringing as friends from other parts of the country were turning on their TVs and radios and learning of what had happened – then ringing to check that we were OK. Through the day my mobile phone has been receiving texts and emails from all of the country, and overseas, including Melbourne, Hawaii and Scotland. Many I have managed to acknowledge, some I haven’t. All have provided a sense of support beyond my immediate circumstance, and I am very grateful for them.

Today was also the wedding of my niece – months in the planning, with attention to all of the meticulous detail involved in making the day a special occasion. But it was not to be – at least, not in the way it was imagined. Firstly, the columns in the front of the historic church that was to be used collapsed in the quake, rendering it out of bounds. And then the power outage and water cut meant that the breakfast venue and catering couldn’t be used. So… in stepped the community. An alternative venue was found, neighbours pitched in and became the caterers for the day, more neighbours offered cars for the wedding party, friends and family decorated the venue in stunning style, and by the scheduled time for the wedding, it went ahead in style and ceremony that will be remembered for a great many years to come.

As I experience the repeated aftershocks that keep coming, and watch the forecast for severe winds approaching the city tomorrow, I have a feeling that our networks and community will continue to be important. Interesting thing to remember really, that community isn’t just something occurs online within – it’s about real people, with real connections showing support and interest in each-other in real ways.

12 thoughts on “Shaken, but not stirred…

  1. Glad to hear you are all OK – and what a wonderful outcome for the wedding. Thinking of you all over the next few days and weeks as things get sorted out. Hope the weather isn’t too dreadful

  2. Oh no…. not the balsamic vinegar?! Every sensible middle-class person’s nightmare scenario 🙂

    Derek – great post and heart-warming story of the wedding! A truly ‘never to be forgotten’ experience for your niece and for your community. And we arec all hoping that things settle down quickly, and balsamic vinegar and vase replaced in return to normailty.

  3. Well done on giving them their day in the wake of a horrible disaster… and best for putting the town right… Hope all are ok…

  4. It sounds like a memorable day will be all the more so. So glad you’re OK (we mourn the Balsamic). Community counts so much. We’ve just had all our neighbours and many friends over for a replay of Catriona’s birthday. Neighbours, above all, are more important than ever. They’re also the ones we often forget about until we need them. Keep safe.

  5. Once again Kiwi resilience comes to the fore. Got a little worried about you when I read about the earthshake (Miss 5). Glad to hear you guys are safe and well.



  6. Thanks for the video Derek – the one’s we are seeing on our Aussie TV are the same ones over and over again – your video had more impact on me. This brings the experience directly to us and your descriptive words and stories and comments here in this blog, show the power of networking as a support mechanism. I’ll be blogging today and making reference to your recent blog. I don’t have images of the floods here in NE Vic but will take some later this morning when I venture down from our place to the township of Wodonga. Our neighbours (well some distance away) are busily sandbagging and evacuating their homes. We are connected in our emergencies!

  7. Derek, good to hear you are ok. Hard to believe the extent of the damage and how it’s impacted on the day to day (and special days) ahead of you. best wishes Garry

  8. Hi Derek,
    We have just watched your video about the mess left by the earthquake with our teacher Rachel.
    We think it is very sad because some people might have to move to another house.
    It was amazing to see all the big cracks in the roads. We are really glad no one got hurt and died.
    Glad you are ok, thanks for making your video.

    From Room 4 Waiuku Primary & Rachel

    PS – we wrote the above during school time but as we use a proxy at school your blog wouldn’t let us post a comment – had to press submit at home!

  9. I’m so glad your own damage experience was negligible. I love the tale of your niece’s wedding, and I hope your parents are ok post-cleaning. Take care.

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