The Blast Personal Gallery: Downtown the day of the Christchurch Quake

On the day of the quake we were surprised by a big aftershock which knocked everything off my desk. After getting out of our building, which thankfully sustained minimal damage, I was relieved to hear my family were safe. Later I was to find just how lucky my father had been to survive rock falls that destroyed my brothers home.

I was called by the NZ Army and asked to get into the Civil Defence HQ in Kilmore St and commence response planning until Regular staff could get into the city. The photos below are some of the images that I captured as I walked into down town Christchurch at a time when most were trying desperately to get out. It was obvious many were killed and our city was in a crisis. It was also a time to walk in the middle of the road through building rubble and to assist the distraught.

There are also some more general photos from around our broken city that I have chosen to share. Some things that I came across;

  • Walking with an upset woman who had been getting her hair cut and watched several buses get crushed. She was walking home to Oxford……about 50km just to get out of town.
  • Having to get past downed buildings,
  • Coming across people crowded silently around a car listening to the radio. Everyone in shock and disbelief as they heard the news and all complete strangers.
  • Silence in the city.
  • Having to assess whether the Copthorne Hotel was going to collapse on the civil defence bunker. I’m no engineer but it was leaning and 12 story buildings shouldn’t lean!
  • Walking through Camner Square as the injured were being gathered and attended to.
  • Hastily established cordons with Police and volunteers manning them.
  • Members of the public on traffic duty at major intersections keeping traffic going.
  • Mud and flooding everywhere.
  • Cars buried in mud.
  • Holes in the road.
  • Buildings full of water.
  • A real feeling of community…..people talking and helping each other everywhere.
  • The Mayor and his staff standing outside the art gallery after being evacuated due to an aftershock.
  • People crying and hugging one another.
  • A group of builders discussing whether to head home or stay with their building site that had collapsed. They were concerned it was a danger to traffic. Legends!
  • The initial briefings in the Civil Defence bunker and starting to get my head around what the emergency services were dealing with.
  • Seeing the first TV images of the PGC building and damage around the city.
  • Meeting my brother at his house on the way home and seeing it destroyed.
  • Ringing my father and telling him how glad I was he was still with us and unhurt.
  • The relief of getting home around 9pm to my family who had coped admirably.
  • Standing on the back lawn and looking towards the sky as aftershocks rolled through and being thankful that my family and I had survived something that could have randomly ended our lives.

I will remember this day and event for the rest of my life.

Stone buildings badly damaged and dangerous.
Armagh St looking West. People legging it!
Montreal St……gave this one the swerve as I walked past.
Sheer power. Tram lines.
Papanui Road…..a busted up home!
Needs more than a tarpaulin this one!
Inside the Civil Defence HQ. Controller Baden Ewart takes stock. 
Hmm…..Armagh St……going nowhere in this car!
Making temporary arrangements in the garden. A mate in Merivale.
My brothers house. A cliff falling, Dad in the house but unhurt. Bit close really!
Cramner Square. The injured and shocked.
Corner of Armagh and Durham St North. People getting out!
Looking North on Montreal. Police evactuating city. Normally traffic flows the other way. Note: Umm building lying in middle of the road. I had to run into the city along this street.
Jammed on Antigua St. Liquifaction and flooding outside office 15 minutes after the shake.
Looking East on Armagh St. Ground zero an hour after the big shake.
Working out…..A temporary office for
Our Vege garden is destroyed: Redcliffs Supermarket will be rebuilt….in time!
Sumner residents meeting with Police. Cliffs, rockfalls, evacuations, Loos, water, mutiny, information yada yada!
The Merc in the hole….Waterfront Redcliffs stuck in a rut!
The dust settles. View from the top. Day after the quake overlooking the city.
Pre school and church hall in Linwood Ave

4 Replies to “The Blast Personal Gallery: Downtown the day of the Christchurch Quake”

  1. Still brings tears to my eyes to see these, and how lucky we all were to get out and are still here to tell the tales.Thanks Kendal xx

  2. Great post! Not many Cantabrians will forget February 22nd & the impact it has made on our lives or the new normal we now face.Lives, landmarks & iconic buildings we have grown up with wiped out in an instant & yet through it all strong people that just got in & did what they could, often over & above what their jobs demanded of them. I feel that the Military excelled at this aspect – yet don't get the recognition that the other forces do for a job well done. ( I also feel incredibly fortunate that there was such a huge contingent in the city & close by getting ready for the exercise!) So from me – a huge thank you, for going above & beyond especially when concerned about your families safety.By the way – I have admired your brothers house since the day it was built & was gutted to see it among the homes damaged….but after reading this I must say that what does a house matter so long as the people inside we unharmed!!

  3. Fantastic post Kendall thank you.I'm so appreciative of all those who have worked behind the cordon and around Christchurch, also especially in the Eastern suburb of Avondale where my elderly parents live [who like many others had damage sustained in the first quake and worsened by the 22 Feb quake] and Wainoni [where my damaged but structurally sound house is], to bring some semblence of order. It has been an honour and priviledge to have experienced the uniting of the local community and the wider community of New Zealand in such horrendous times. I'm VERY proud to be a Kiwi. I'm so sorry for your brothers loss 😐 His house was most certainly one that always caught my eye as i drove to Sumner and always wondered what it was like inside, it was just so different. I hope he and his family are coping ok – just terrible like having the rug pulled out from under you.Just hoping now that the powers that be can sort out what will be happening with the land so people can move on…many of us are in limbo and that makes it so hard to know in which direction to go. At least i live in Auckland – my house is tenanted currently by my next door neighbour whos house was badly damaged. Funny how some things work out – it was untenanted for the past few months. I was so happy i could help her out.Warmest wishesSandy

  4. Thank you for your comments and insights/thoughts and kind words. Thanks also for reading what I post. It never ceases to amaze me how far and wide readership is.It has been a time in all of our lives that we will remember……both the good and the bad, the power of mother nature and just when we all felt hard done by the events in japan made us realise just how much worse it can get!Take care out there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: