Kaikoura 2
Maggie, the convener of the “Singing for Joy” group, was unable to lead her group’s performance at the November General Meeting. This is her story……

Yes, we were in Kaikoura that night. We had packed up ready to drive to Picton the next morning for a midday crossing. We had the awning down and the car packed, but not attached to the van. Then at 12.05ish I was woken by my partner jumping out of bed and grabbing the door shouting something about the van sliding down the bank, (about 3 metres away) and onto the beach. I heard a voice saying calmly ‘It’s only an earthquake dear’ and realized that I was still lying in bed and watching the van shake and roll about.

The TV hit the floor and a jug of water flew past spraying water over me. Just as it stopped at last, it started again in another direction, sideways this time and I did think that we would fall over. Then everything stopped and terrified campervan folks started to fall out of their vans, most were overseas visitors, all jabbering in their own languages. All we could do was comfort them and try to reassure them that they were safe – and that earthquakes happened in NZ!!

Most drove away from the beach straight away, but it takes a while to hook up a caravan with shaking hands! At last we drove away only to find that the bridge had dropped a few inches and we had landed in it, so, very carefully we drove the caravan out of it and up the road to Hamner. There we meet up with a group of farmers and locals. Only then did we learn that a house had collapsed and killed a man just up the road from the beach where we had been. After spending a few hours making sure nothing too bad was going to happen we were shown into a paddock and told we could stay there as long as we liked -wonderful people.

In the morning after a couple of shaky hours sleep we walked up the track to find another beautiful old villa totally collapsed, so sad. Then we made our way to Kiakoura where we were fed crayfish and cared for by the local marae.

These people were the real heroes. They left their own homes in chaos to feed all of us, and they deserve a medal. They were kind, respectful, helpful and generally amazing, all of this before the helpers could arrive to sort things out, and they continued to do it for seven days, three meals a day for all comers.

One day it rained and we were able to supplement our water needs by putting buckets under the corners of the caravan and then I washed my hair !!!!!!!

I was really impressed with the tidiness of everywhere, no rubbish left about by anyone. The council workers were out empting bins and loos every day, from day one, and everyone had their rubbish in bags and put out by the bins.

I have never used so much hand sanitizer in my life as everywhere we went we were squirted with it! But the result was organized hygienic chaos. They even flew in some pills that I had become short of by being delayed.

We flew out on day ten leaving our car and caravan in a lovely ladies garden and we will go back and get it, one day, when they start to allow towing vehicles out.

Maggie and Barry