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A Day of contrasting emotions

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Today was “Business day” and we had meetings at the La Trobe University campus. What a huge, vibrant and alive campus. The central meeting point has cinemas, 4 banks, theatres, bars and of course many different food outlets with an amazing array of offerings. Our meetings were fantastic and we met some genuinely nice people. We came away with a sense of satisfaction because we are totally convinced that our SpaceCalc program will help the university plan for it’s future. I’m sure they also know this.

Unfortunately, our excitement was tempered by the news we found waiting when we got home from the devastation in my hometown, Christchurch. The part that did it for me was seeing the cathedral in ruins with the spire collapsed. As anyone from Christchurch will know, the cathedral and the square are the icons of the city. It’s what you see in your mind when you think of home. It’s the landmark that really defines Christchurch. Apparently, New Brighton is “unliveable”. I grew up in Aranui, about 2 km from New Brighton. Also to hear of the damage in Lyttleton, close to the epicentre is disturbing. I spent so much of my life around the port town of Lyttleton. As a sea cadet I spent every weekend here and any other time I possibly could, just to be around the ships. This is where I got my first job at sea on the fishing vessel “Blue Water” and it’s where I got my first “command” after getting my Fishing Skippers ticket – the old fishing vessel Kia Ora. We fished out of Lyttleton and I always loved the place. My father used to walk the steep, now devastated, Summner to Lyttleton road every week carrying his groceries up to the old lighthouse keepers cottage at Godley head where he lived.

As a kid I remember earthquake drills at school and also I recall many small earth tremors. It was just something that happened and you never paid it much mind. Nothing like this EVER happened. I’ve spoken to my brother in law Ivan, but haven’t yet spoken to my sister Rose. Ivan said he saw her in Halswell after the quake so she’s alright. Probably stayed with friends overnight. Ivan slept in the car after all his belongings ended up on the floor. He’s adamant that’s it for him, he’s moving to Australia. Can Christchurch ever recover from this? I don’t know, but it will never be the same again.

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