One year on for Canterbury

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A year ago, at 12.51 pm Canterbury was hit by the second . The first one was on 4 September 2010.

By pure coincidence on both days I was flying to Australia on the redeye flight, so found about both in airport lounges.

I recall after the first earthquake thinking how it was a minor miracle that no one died, and partly putting it down to the timing at 4.35 am, when most were asleep in their beds.

The second earthquake was not so well timed. It was technically less powerful than the September quake, but it was centred closer to Christchurch and was centred at half the depth. The combination of the timing, the earlier damage and the location led to 185 human beings losing their life.

There is much one can say about what has happened since, with the $30 billion estimated price tag, the decisions on reconstruction etc. But I don’t think today is the day for that. Today I just want to say to those in Canterbury that a year on we have not forgotten, and we will not forget.

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23 Responses to “One year on for Canterbury”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Personally I’d rather you forgot it.

    Christchurch doesn’t need more tears, rending of garments, wailing and gnashing of teeth, Christchurch needs you, or more importantly, your money.

    We need tourist dollars!

    Christchurch is a thriving town set in beautiful surroundings and open for business.

    Come see for yourself – bring your wallet.

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  2. David Farrar (1,899 comments) says:

    As it so happens I am visiting in March.

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  3. Manolo (13,838 comments) says:

    She is 100% right: http://lindsaymitchell.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/tomorrow-and-christchurch.html

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  4. Don the Kiwi (1,763 comments) says:

    We do need to stand in sympathy and solidarity with our countrymen from Christchurch, and respect those who have died.

    What I am getting heartily sick of is the handwringing and endless wailing of the news media – particularly TV 1 & TV3. We had months of “Earthquake” thrust down our necks during and after the happening, and we’re gonna get more of it ad infinitum now……….and then the 2nd anniversay…………and the third anni……….

    So yes, Pete. I am all earthquaked out.

    What’s gonna happen when the big one hits Wellington?

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  5. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Fantastic DPF.

    Book BST Cab276, I’ll show you the bits that aren’t broken.

    [DPF: BST is a taxi cab firm I take it?]

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  6. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    I just want to know why the quake memorial article on the Herald online has to have a big picture of Ritchie McCaw’s face?
    I mean seriously- can we forget about boofhead rugby players for just one fucking day of memorial for 185 people??

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  7. Dave Mann (1,224 comments) says:

    Sorry, DPF, I don’t quite understand your reference ‘decisions on reconstruction’. Wouldn’t the more accurate description be ‘bureaucratic prevention of reconstruction’?

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  8. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Don the Kiwi – I’m sympathetic about Christchurch, like a lot of people I have many connections with Christchurch.

    It’s the incessant sensationalising by media that is getting to about 10 on the Richter.

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  9. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    My friend made a healthy capital gain on his rental in Rangiora (selling to an east sider).

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  10. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    “The good market developers only treat money as a score sheet – so that they know whether or not they are creating value. Its more the challenge that motivates them.”

    http://www.interest.co.nz/property/56362/opinion-hugh-pavletich-sees-political-circus-running-rebuild-and-objects-taking-garde

    There was abeautiful art deco house on St Andrews Hill Road. A developper bought it and stuck another unit in front

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  11. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    “twas called San Marino (the art deco house).

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  12. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    There was a free play (comedy) in the Botanic Gardens (Christchurch City Council’s annual SummerTimes Theatre). Some of it was stupid, but it did remind me about our identity, while some people sell “New Zealander” quite cheaply how many remember Hays’ Roof etc, etc.
    One thing the play didn’t mention (perhaps the writer wasn’t old enough) was the corner we turned, when it became “the thing to do to buy a corner section and subdivide…”

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  13. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    DPF: The combination of the timing, the earlier damage and the location led to 185 human beings losing their life.

    That’s a shocking statement, because it is so untrue. Almost all of these people died in two of three buildings. Which were stamped safe by the government.

    [DPF: I prefer to wait for the Royal Commission report. Also only an idiot would say a building is earthquake safe. Even the best engineered building will come down if the quake is powerful enough, close enough and shallow enough]

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  14. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Which were stamped safe

    Nothing is ‘safe’. Everyone should be aware that everything has a degree of risk.

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  15. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Come on now Pete, the WTC was stamped safe. Better blame the govt for that too

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  16. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    Nice, we have Dave Mann complaining about bureaucratic obstruction of reconstruction, and hj complaining about bureaucratic NON obstruction of reconstruction. There ain’t no perfect way to handle this, but overall I’d reckon that a generally good fist has been made of getting on with it without too much compromising of safety and fairness.

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  17. Julian (20 comments) says:

    This is a time to consider other peoples predicaments and that your life can change in 12 seconds.

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  18. Richard Hurst (859 comments) says:

    I agree 100% with MT_Tinman. Most of the city is OK and open for business. The attractions of wider Canterbury are still there, the ski fields will be open again this winter and the Canterbury agri sector remains strong etc.

    The loss of life and the lives that have been ruined are tragic but this mass media grief festival is a bit much.

    This isn’t a city of the dead or giant memorial to lost landmarks. Its a living , breathing city with a future.

    DPF: I think BST Cab276 means Blue Star Taxi’s Cab276

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  19. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    You cannot commence to reconstruct Christchurch CBD (City Centre) until the aftershocks have settled, and this will take many years – last Saturday’s Herald talked about 30 years to settle. You could commence after 10 years of no aftershocks.
    New Zealand, particularly is hundreds of millions of years old, made up of new fold volcanic mountains, breaking from gondwanaland (perhaps). It has bee rolling and exploding for these millions of years and you cannot expect Mother Nature to change her evolution.
    The people of Christchurch, and interested parties, must stop looking at entitlement, and think outside the square.
    There will be virtually no insurance available (at any cost possibly) so Banks will not lend without insurance security for loans.
    Insurance/Reinsurance have taken a single loss some thirteen times the New Zealand annual Fire & General premium income.
    Thank goodness EQC took out reinsurance, having to fight the wishes of the then Labour government, to allow this.
    I know I was involved in the fight. I hate to think of the cost without overseas cover.

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  20. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    DPF: Also only an idiot would say a building is earthquake safe.

    That’s another not so honest statement: we’re talking here about a safe to reoccupy seal of approval after a major earthquake.

    If you believe the government can’t provide that guarantee, why does it give one then? That’s deception.

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  21. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    Paulus that “30 years” figure (nice big arm wave value) is how long the effect of September 4 2010’s Magnitude 7.1 and the changes in stresses in the ground that it caused (with aftershocks and heightened level of seismicity) will be perceptible by *seismic instrumentation* – i.e. Geonet.

    Most of those quakes are too small to notice, occasionally we will feel a bigger one – say a 3.5 – 4.5. The chances of the bigger 5+’s are already rapidly diminishing. Also the stress transfer has headed progressively east from Greendale, Prebbleton, across Christchurch and is now offshore (Dec 23rd and Jan 2nd’s were north east of New Brighton). There are no large continuous faults mapped in the subsurface that directly link up (which could generate large events), and it is likely we have seen 90%+ of the activity played out from the original event. There isn’t any absolute guarantees, but then there isn’t anywhere in New Zealand.

    All this information is advising the insurance companies of the risk to Christchurch, and the engineers are working out what is a reasonable level to design for in terms of the heightened risk in the short term for new buildings. Revised building codes are coming, and on that basis extra costs to rebuild can be factored in by developers. I expect it means a bit more steel in the beams and columns, but won’t prevent the rebuild from happening. Important buildings should be designed to be much more resilient anyway, not just the minimum the code says. Owners are likely to have a better handle on what the consequences of minimum spec. means (building written off after a big earthquake), and may be willing to spend a bit more upfront for higher performance and to justify lower insurance premiums.

    Insurance will be possible. All they care about is the numbers – probability of loss, and cost implications. If the numbers line up they will be back in the game. It is a market like any other.

    Buildings are going up now in parts of the city as we speak. The reconstruction has begun. Yes many more buildings are yet to come down and some insurers will want 6-12 months after December 23rd before giving the green light on covering the rebuild at some sites. But it will happen.

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  22. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    mavxp

    Having been in reinsurance for over 40 years, both here for over and overseas before that, London, Zurich, Bermuda, you are correct that its the numbers which count which is what reinsurers do.
    Until the world’s major reinsurers in Germany, London, Bermuda and USA see that “their” engineers are going to accept the numbers they will look at trying to recover their losses as soon as can be reasonably made, so that a balance is restored.
    The 30 year came from NZ scientists in the Herald last weekend.
    The ground is still shaking.
    Another major shock in anywhere in New Zealand and they will just walk away from New Zealand in giving any earthquake cover – full stop. The New Zealand world wide insurance premium income is about 0.2% of the world total. We need them not the other way round.
    None of the insurers trading in New Zealand have the capital and assets to give cover without reinsurance.

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  23. hj (7,033 comments) says:

    SLIGHT SHOCK OF EARTHQUAKE.

    the province of Canterbury, but outside the “block,” were purchased at ten shillings per acre (the price fixed by Sir George Grey for the whole of New Zealand, except the Canterbury and Otago blocks), by a gentleman named Moore, from Van Diemen’s Land. Within the Canterbury block the price continued for the present to be 3l., the sum originally fixed by the association. During the second session of the provincial council, 10,000l. were voted for immigration, 2445l. for public works, and 1000l. for education. A grammar-school was opened at Lyttelton, and a commercial department added to the grammar-school at Christchurch. In their third session (October) the council voted 10,000l. (afterwards reduced to 6000l.) for the construction of a portion of the Sumner road, 2000l. for the erection of a council-chamber, and 1000l. for the promotion of local steam navigation. On the 1st of July some statistical information, collected by Mr. H. J. Porter, was published in the Government Gazette. 3 On the evening of the 23rd of January, 1855, a shock of earthquake, described by Mr. Hamilton, collector of customs at Lyttelton, as “a slight tremour,” was felt throughout the province, but no damage whatever was done.
    http://www.enzb.auckland.ac.nz/document?wid=1906&page=0&action=null

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