I was hoping to get an article published about Christchurch and the effect the earthquakes have had on the people there before I wrote this Christchurch blog. The thing is, that the information that I’m going to be writing about Christchurch in this blog is very similar to what’s in the article, only a lot more detailed. If I write about it in a blog, then it’s going to be on the internet and free for people to read. No editor will then want to pay me to get a similar article printed in a newspaper, if it’s free to read in my blog.
In the article I wanted to concentrate on the human side of things: how the people there were effected by the earthquake, how their extraordinary community spirit comes through and how they’re determined to carry on, despite all the destruction and change it’s brought to their lives, including three people’s experiences with the February quake. I sent pitches off to four national newspapers but there was no interest. So I decided to change tack on the angle of the story and rewrote it. This time I concentrated on an angle about the city of Christchurch reshaping its future after the earthquakes and a particular unique initiative that was carried out during the rebuilding of the city. I sent out eight pitches to various national newspapers but still got no response. So I’m just going to “give up the ghost” on getting the article published and paid for it and carry on with writing the blog.
I was so looking forward to going to Christchurch but a little bit scared at the same time because of the possibilities of earthquakes. But I was determined to go there and take the chance. For years, New Zealand has been known for its seismic activity. The country sits astride two tectonic plates: the Australian and the Pacific plates. When these plates grind together, it generates earthquakes nearly the whole length of the country. No other city in New Zealand though, has suffered so badly from earthquakes than Christchurch. Since September 4th 2010, the city has experienced five earthquakes over the magnitude of 4.9 in the space of nearly two years and has had over 10,000 aftershocks and that number is still rising.
On September 4th 2010 the city was shaken by a massive 7.1 earthquake, on February 22nd 2011 the ground shook again with a 6.3 quake. A third big one, of 6.3 magnitude, rocked the city on June 13th 2011 and there were two more strong quakes on December 23rd and 26th2011(source Geonet). In the September earthquake, the magnitude of the quake was higher than in February but there was no loss of life. In February the situation was much worse. One hundred and eighty five people lost their lives, buildings fell, homes were damaged and destroyed, roads buckled, parts of river banks fell away. The CTV building which housed the King’s Education Language College collapsed like a concertina, killing one hundred and fifteen people, the Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square and the Catholic Cathedral on Barbados Street sustained damage. The Pyne Gould building was completely destroyed killing eighteen people.
The possibility of aftershocks while I was going to be in Christchurch was quite high. I still couldn’t wait to get there. As I mentioned before, I have totally fallen in love with New Zealand and it broke my heart to hear about the damage and loss of life the earthquakes caused in Christchurch, especially the one in February 2011. I wanted to go there to see the city as it is now and talk to the local people about their experiences