Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Not with any desire to reference or minimise the horror of war, the momentous events that have hit my birth place and what I regard as my spiritual home, have had a far greater impact on my whole being than I wish or find comfortable
I think I have an infinitesimal understanding of battle fatigue and its manifestation in shell shock.

During the more than ten thousand earthquakes and after shocks that hammered us from September 2010, over the following years, I was almost cavalier in my response to events that were turning strong people to quivering jelly. Until last autumn  that was true, when out of the blue, a small isolated tremor of around richter five reduced me to tears and threatened to overwhelm my ability to cope.  It was unnerving .

When the midnight wake up call struck the heart of the Amuri basin on Monday morning, I was asleep In my mobile home at Ealing on the north bank of the Rangitata River adjacent to SH1 and slept on blissfully unaware as to what was going on where I grew up and went to Waiau primary school.
Two other couples were parked up there, from our circle of grey nomads, one couple woke immediately the others were woken at around 1 am with cellphones jangling. SWMBO and self slept on until 0555 when turning on the wireless revealed my bimbo news source gabbling about the events in North Canterbury and Marlborough but totally bereft of identifying facts as to what actually she was talking about and it was the following News cast at the  beginning  of Hosking breakfast that revealed it was a massive earthquake centered just across the Waiau River from my old family home. The focus of the chatteratti has since centred on Kaikoura where I arrived on this earth nearly seventy four years ago and that district has subsequently held a special place in my heart ever since.

Largely forgotten in the unfolding reveal, Waiau that was the entire world of my awakening consciousness, a village many miles from Christchurch by mainly shingle or metal road. A road  that began with a massive structure of Australian hardwood single lane bridge, since replaced in the 1960s with a concrete edifice. The village had a garage workshop with fuel, two grocery stores, a barber tobacconist who sold ice creams, soda and lollies, a pub, two transport firms and a population of the range of ages. On modern interpretations of what constitutes "poverty" it almost included every resident.
The early fifties saw five "state houses" built and the Amuri Lime Company had a row of worker houses constructed. the Railhead of a long since deconstructed freight link was on the south bank of the river with its little bunch of houses for the Station Master, Railwary Road Services bus driver and maintenance workers.
Waiau had three churches, Catholic and Presbyterian built of wood and a delightful little Anglican stone church built from concrete and river stone. The doolan one still stands unused, the Presbyterian church is gorn, removed and an image of the Anglican stone church on TV suggested it was very badly damaged.

I know this will seem 'poor me' but my world has been damaged far more than the destruction of our city ever portrayed, it bloody hurts and the good people of Waiau largely ignored as a facile media goes on about tourists and others who can leave Kaikoura behind with an unplanned helicopter ride paid for with OPMs. Waiau meanwhile is still hurting with massive disruption. Eight dairy farms between SH7 and Waiau have three sheds still operable. Apparently Don Galetly was on TV NZ  last night with his one thousand cows trucked out as his infrastructure is totalled,  munted in modern parlance.
My ancestral home is still intact but sans its three chimney stacks, farm tracks are blocked, county water supply is jury rigged, little bro trucking stock this am from a neighbours yards due to a bridge declared unsafe.

In times when the country can have Tame, Hosking, Soper et al in NY and Washington guessing what is unravelling there in a completely understandable expression of democracy by the ordinary people, it seems the media cannot understand or interpret an unfolding disaster just up the road from the SI main city, unbelievable.


The Veteran said...

GD ... thinking of you. From what I know of small town/rural NZL Waiau will pull through because that's what small town/rural NZL does best.

A small silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud ... literally and figuratively. Dairy prices up 4.5% in the latest auction. 7th rise in 8 auctions.

Noel said...

Dairy prices up?
No surprises there. The most obvious influence was world wide herd cull when prices slumped.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... yes there was a cull but the stats don't reflect the complete story as many farmers took the opportunity to rid themselves of their least productive cows ... but whatever, the latest Fonterra forecast payout (21 September) of between $5.75-$5.85 (milk price + earnings) is a big lift from the $4.25 forecast at the start of the season. There will be pressure now on Fonterra to lift the forecast to $6.00 and beyond and that's all good news.

Gerald said...

Elsewhere in the dairy world.

Anonymous said...

GD....also fond memories of the Waiau pub as kid. A stop over on the way to Hamner to top up the Austin seven with water and the kids with raspberryade.

It was also the first stop on the way to CHC for those recently released from the Hamner alcohol rehabilitation centre........the stories are legion.

Lord Egbut

Anonymous said...

Sorry GD.....not was the Star and Garter at Waikari. Senior mment without the shellshock.

Lord Egbut

gravedodger said...

I did wonder Eggbut old chap why one might detour to the "W" of my youth for a first drink after escaping Queen Mary.