In ordinary times, that people gather and lend their hand to help those in need is a comforting cliché. Then, when people remain during a time of earthquakes, tunnel into moving rubble to pull out survivors, from their own goodness bring hot drinks and food and treat the injured and raise an army of their fellows to help out people they’ve never met, they make an extraordinary tale that can nourish a nation for generations to come.
The Christchurch earthquakes raise in us a rare gamut of raw emotion. Seldom are we witness to events of such outrageous, capricious cruelty and it has been hard to watch as each day delves deeper into the city’s tragedies. Some of us have learned of surprising, unforeseen effects of earthquakes.
We knew of buildings shaking and toppling and the earth opening up to engulf the unlucky, but who imagined mud spurting from the solid ground, spewing like volcanoes or suddenly undermining the foundations of buildings or swallowing vehicles?
Then, after that misfortunate marvel, who suspected the black mud could set like concrete in just a few hours? What miseries it has caused.
The focus has been on the urban catastrophe. In surrounding farmland, the earthquake induced maybe a mild crease in the pasture, or caused perhaps the northern half of a shelter belt to be forever two metres east of the rest, or gave a railway track an alarming twist.
But in the city, similar minor movements of the earth created havoc with our puny buildings, roads and bridges. People were trapped or killed outright as their familiar, everyday buildings betrayed and crushed them.
We hear now tales of courage, kindness and steady compassion which inspire us with new zeal as New Zealanders. Fresh new zeal is just what the world needs, and New Zealand is just the place to find it. We’re a naturally retiring people, but when we treat each other like this, we cannot conceal from a watching world what’s truly in our hearts. Continue Reading →