I am posting this on behalf of Martin Harris of Uncensored ~ who had an accident with his computer. He will be back in a day or two but I wanted to get Part Three of his Christchurch series out to you pronto!
Christchurch Earthquake: Remember September Part Three
March 18, 2018
By Martin Harris
The Great Unmapped
When my family and I emigrated to New Zealand in 1982, my Great Uncle Les, a proud Kiwi and walking repository of local knowledge, acted as our self appointed guide to our new home. He was a tall man, reminiscent of Tolkein’s Treebeard. Despite being a humble painter/decorator by trade, he had undertaken a number of government contracts during his career, including the painting of several transmission towers, notably the iconic Sugarloaf analog transmitter. This brought him into contact with some knowledgeable sources.
One day, while talking a stroll through Cathedral Square, Uncle Les mentioned how, back in the late 1800s, the Cathedral had been damaged by an earthquake. Will it happen again? inquired then fifteen year old Martin. “Well, I saw a map about ten years back the DSIR made,” he boomed, “And there are faults right under our feet here” he swept his lengthy arm in the direction of Colombo street. “And believe you me,” he emphasised every word slowly, “One day soon, all of this will come crashing down”.
Soon? When? He bent down to my ear, his voice quietening and his eyes gazing afar as if discerning the future. “Not in my lifetime maybe Martin, but in yours….?”
I have never publicly shared this story before, but in light of the following corroborating story, now would seem to be the right time:
I joined the DSIR geophysics division in 1973 and spent my first week asking other scientists what they were working on. One showed me a series of beautifully made coloured contour maps of Christchurch and the surrounding area. He told me they were earthquake probability maps that indicated which areas were safer than others. I was very impressed and said so. Then he told me that unfortunately these maps had been recalled by the Government Printer, and he had been gathering up all the maps that morning so he could distribute the new version. I asked what the difference was, and was invited to compare them. I did so, and commented the first maps showed variable earthquake risk over the whole area, but the new ones showed the risk as all stopping at the edges of the built-up areas. He said, “Yes.”
We were both disgusted. I offered to take one of the maps as evidence, but he said the maps were all numbered and we could not do so. My new friend did not know the reason for the change, but thought it was perhaps to protect property values. Stephen R Hicks (Whitianga)
Though ChristChurch Cathedral will almost certainly be restored to former glory, the fate of other heritage buildings, indeed the future of the city itself, is less clear. From the Hereford Street bridge, Christchurch’s central business district is a scene of wanton violence and destruction. It is as though Titans have wrestled and stumbled among the …Continue readingResurrection: Christchurch Moving On
So here we are in 2018. My city is gone, and Uncle Les, God Rest His Soul, was right. Half of the street I live on is now reverted to native swamp, and the affluent suburb recently built adjacently suffered the worst.