Visiting the City that Rocks

Written By: - Date published: 4:44 pm, December 31st, 2010 - 7 comments
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The slow round of extended family xmas locations has this year located Lyn and I in Christchurch. Which has made for an interesting boxing day with a certain amount of rocking that is not attributable to the results of the gorging the day before.

I’ve been in earthquakes before. But never in quite the series that we have had today. You can see from the geonet list of recent quakes that it has been a fine day for a earth sciences student.

I missed the early morning earthquakes due to some self administered anesthetic. However I was awake for the wee shake at 0803. Most of the day I have been feeling the city start to rock, leading me to eye the nearest exit/table/door while trying to estimate the severity.

So far I’ve been pretty accurate and not too worried. The 1030 one I estimated at 5.0 and geonet has it at 4.9, the one immediately following at 3.7 (geonet says 3.6), the one just before 1200 I though was about 3.5 and geonet agrees. But I’m consistently within a few points.

But you can see the difference between visitors and residents. The residents were clearly shaken up by the 7.1 a few months ago and are a lot more uncertain and anxious. Mind you they have property here as well and we visitors don’t. It is their pictures and ornaments that keep dropping on the floor. But what brings the quakes home to a visitor in our borrowed house is that the toilet door that was fine this morning will no longer close.

However it doesn’t appear to have stopped too many people from visiting the malls today from what I could see. I had to go to purchase some essential items that we’d forgotten or were needed – like a coffee plunger for this caffeine addict.

As a born Aucklander, what always strikes me is the strangeness of the largely European’ness of being in the ‘mainland’. I grew up in a Auckland with its phenomenal immigration from overseas and from the rest of NZ. On the boxing day wander around the crowded malls the low amounts of obvious cultural differences from polynesia, asia, or islam. I’d sort of got used to living in a largely european culture in my four years in Dunedin. But I always had this sense of going back home when I’d wind up becoming a member of the largest minority back in the Auckland rather than part of the supermajority in the south.

Back home again, and three kilos more weight… With a better link, time to post this boxing day post

7 comments on “Visiting the City that Rocks”

  1. Hilary 1

    The other post today is ‘what will 2011 bring?’. Who would have guessed a year ago that 2010 would have brought a major earthquake and 4 months of aftershocks to Christchurch? So who knows what will be the new normal for NZ in a year’s time? I guess it shows we have to be prepared for the unexpected and try and be resilient whatever happens.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I think you got lucky on the magnitude prediction, more than anything else. I also thought that the 10:30 one was high 4’s, probably 4.7 or 4.8.

    But with other earthquakes, a notable one with my family at my parents house, with my dad who has a masters in geology – we all predicted low 5’s or high 4’s, and the result was 4.2. The severity of shaking can differ markedly in different places for different magnitudes and depends greatly on where the epicenter was. The ones on Xmas and Boxing Day were centered within the city limits, so shaking was more severe from those than from others we’ve had. Similarly the one above that turned out to be 4.2 was centered in the city as well.

    • lprent 2.1

      Probably, but I have been through a few before. These were pretty shallow and close – there was no delay between the different waveforms. So I tended to discard the higher figures that were my first thoughts and kept an eye on light fittings and things moving on shelves.

  3. hateatea 3

    It was scary driving along the road when the 10.30 one hit and then arriving at Westfield to see so many people who were quite distressed. I worry about my sister who lives on the top floor of a central city building and I am glad to have only been visiting rather than living there.

    Interested to read your perspective on Christchurch’s diversity because to me the balance has definitely shifted

    • lprent 3.1

      It probably has shifted. But I grew up in Mt Albert which is a really diverse community and has been so since I was a kid. It has also changed heaps over the years.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        I think if I spent any significant time in Auckland (I’ve been through the airport waiting for connecting international flights) I’d probably get a bit of culture shock. Both from the diversity of race, as well as the share size of the city.

        Having said that, though, we do have a lot of Asians here.

        • lprent

          The point I was trying to make was the scale and duration of difference.

          When I went through high school in the 1970’s about a third of the school was polynesian or maori. Probably another third were from immigrant familes from around europe. Probably about half would have been from first generation immigration (born elsewhere) or second generation (born here). Less than a quarter of the school would have been from families that were long established in Auckland (my father was an immigrant from the King Country who married a native).

          These days that mix would have changed again with much higher fijian indian, south africian, chinese, americian, korean, somali, and other immigration, and there is probably less immigration from other parts of NZ. Mt Albert is not that exceptional when you look at somewhere like Mt Roskill, some of the North Shore shools, or those in south or west Auckland. It just had a more varied mix of immigration than most.

          Sure other cities around NZ get immigration, but nothing on the scale and duration that Auckland does and has. It affects the culture of the city a lot and in my view mostly for the better. I suspect that it is a significant part of the JAFA difference

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