Guest post from Alison Dormaar, Pegasus resident and author
Okay, I believe I can safely speak for everyone here in Canterbury when I say that I am sick to the back teeth of earthquakes. You can tell visitors from the locals by their reactions even to the smallest tremors. Outsiders leap to their feet and wildly look around while locals yawn and go “oh yeah”, as well they might, being veterans of over 10,000 aftershocks and still counting. GeoTech for many of we budding seismologists inCanterburyhas become an old and familiar friend (did anyone send them a Christmas card?)
Mind you, the events of December 23 served as a sharp reminder that however much we all like to forget it in New Zealand, we live on the Ring of Fire and that no matter where you live, there will be some level of risk. A few nights later we were treated to a regular smorgasbord of quakes, starting at 1.30 am and continuing until 5.45 am where we were farewelled with a grand finale measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale – but most people do agree, that swarm of over 19 shocks was out of the ordinary. I do know that come daylight, I for one who had borne the past year with as much stoic passivity as possible, snapped, brewed the most potent cuppa imaginable and committed fearful ravages on a box of scorched almonds (one great thing about the festive time of year, there’s plenty of scope for comfort eating!)
The experts tell us we can expect tremors for the next 30 years. After that comforting statement appeared on the six o’clock news, I heard from a string of panicked people, all convinced that the world was about to end, that Christchurch was cursed, that it was Judgement Day etc etc, and the overall impression they all had from the media was that we would be plagued with continuous swarms of earth shattering tremors 24/7. In this the media could have been a tad more responsible and eliminated the scaremongering hype. I’m not exactly happy with the news myself, but upon a little further thought, remember that the so-called experts said “could” and “might” and that over time the tremors will noticeably become much less and of a far less violent magnitude – and that we will most certainly not have to wait the full 30 years to see much of this happen. In fact, from June 2011 until that fateful day in December, a significant reduction in tremors had already occurred.
Running away does not help anything in the long term. An acquaintance told me the other day she is seriously considering moving to Nelson, whereupon it was pointed out to her that Nelson is virtually on top of the great Alpine fault. Other people have fled to the likes of Wellington and Auckland– two main centres with an even higher risk of catastrophic chaos than Christchurch, and in the case ofAucklandwe have several active volcanoes thrown into the equation. Personally I believe the greatest fear and anxiety begins after the event itself, when the Hydra that is Insurance rears its monstrous and countless heads. I know I for one would find the prospect of dealing with a niggling insurance agent or officious EQC officer the worst horror scenario of all. Heaven knows, far too many of us have had to deal with that nightmare this past year.
So goodbye to 2011, and good riddance. My resolution for 2012 is not to make resolutions but to take life as it comes and to reflect on what truly matters in my life rather than what values others may dictate to me. As a Taurus, I have been emboldened by my horoscope for the coming year which states that I am in for a major career breakthrough and a huge boost for confidence and self esteem – as I am a budding writer, I say bring it on! Perhaps the shake up of 2011 in some ways is what many of us, stuck in our old conventional rut, needed. And on that vein, Christchurch, like the phoenix, will indeed rise from its smouldering Victorian ashes and truly emerge resplendent into the twenty first century a better, brighter, safer world class city we can all be proud of.
Comment from Pegasus:
Despite all the thousands of earthquakes in Christchurch since September 2010, there has been no damage at all at Pegasus.
The views, opinions or positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or position of Pegasus Town Ltd.