Daily Archives: May 7, 2011

One Day – One Tornado and One Earthquake

Map of New Zealand“New Zealand is not a small country
but a large village. ”
Peter Jackson,  New Zealand film director,
producer, actor, and screenwriter, 1961 –

New Zealand is often compared to a village.  Its total land area is 268,670 square kilometers (103,733 square miles), making it about the size of the state of Colorado, with a coastline of 15,134 kilometers (9,404 miles).  So we have friends and family in all other parts of this small country.

On Tuesday 4 May the country was hit twice – a tornado in Auckland in the north of the North Island and an earthquake in Nelson in the north of the South Island.
This wasn’t a tornado of the magnitude of that which hit Alabama last week but it caused widespread damage – see the video from the Guardian UK .
Our immediate thoughts and reactions were for friends in those areas. I phoned friends living in Auckland because the tornado was shown live on TV and seemed to be pretty scary. There were many people injured by flying roofing iron, broken glass, cars being upturned and other things being lifted and deposited somewhere else. One person died who was working inside a building being demolished.
The Nelson earthquake was small – we don’t really get excited about any quake that’s only around 4 on the Richter scale.  We are rather blase about the whole earthquake thing.  We say that we are prepared for the big one .  But can one ever be prepared for such a happening?
Wellington, the capital city and where I live lies within the earthquake-generating collision zone between two of the Earth’s great tectonic plates, and sits on top of one of the zone’s most active geological faults – the Wellington Fault.  It was widely expected that we would get the next big one.
Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral Before 22.02.11

Instead on February 22 a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region in the South Island causing widespread damage and multiple fatalities. This followed nearly six months after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit  Canterbury in September 2010 which caused significant damage to the region but no direct fatalities.
Christchurch Cathedral after 22.02.11

Christchurch Cathedral on 22.02.11

The February earthquake caused much more widespread damage and the loss of life was in excess of 180. And almost every day we hear of more aftershocks in the region.

See the video report from TVNZ here

So our small country took two hits on the same day leaving people in both the north and south island bemused at what is happening here and in other parts of the world.

Gregg Easterbrook, 1953 –  American writer and lecturer said –

“But by showing us live coverage of every bad thing happening everywhere in the world, cable news make life seem like it’s just an endless string of disasters – when, for most people in most places today, life is fairly good. “
So here is something to make you smile –

The rain has gone

 “Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. 
It means that you look beyond the imperfections
and smile.”
Judith Baxter 1938- mother, grandmother,
sister, friend.