Monday, July 22, 2013


I mentioned on Friday that we'd had a 5.8 quake.  Well, that wasn't the end of it.  We had more small quakes through Friday and Saturday, and then yesterday, a really big one hit.  6.6 apparently.

Luckily it wasn't centered under Wellington, but about 80km away.  If it had been right on our fault line, I imagine Wellington would have wound up looking like Christchurch did after their earthquake. Or worse!

My boys and I had been up the coast visiting a friend, and were on our way back.  The train pulled into a station and stopped.  The guard came through and told us there had been a small quake, and that the train would be staying put until they'd had a chance to make sure the tracks were okay.

Then the big one hit.

It was like riding a wave.  The whole train seemed to ripple underneath us, then ripple back the other way.  Interestingly, no one panicked.  We all looked at each other and said various things that basically amounted to 'Shit, that was a big one'.

Once it had passed, I think everyone got on their phones.  I texted my partner first, to make sure he was okay, and once I'd been reassured of that, I texted the two women I had in charge at the cinema.  The cinema I run was originally built in 1917.  It's had a lot of work done on it over the years, changing it from the massive 2500 seat picture palace it once was, to a modern 3-screen complex.  But it's an old building, and well known for not being 100% earthquake safe (like a large number of buildings in this, and probably any other city).

It took a long time for them to get back to me, and both of them were pretty shaken up.  Luckily, there wasn't any significant damage - except a few bottles of wine that fell of shelves and smashed in the storeroom.  And no one was hurt.  Everybody left though, except 3 people who wanted to stay and watch the film that had just started.  Some people....

Overall, I think we got away lightly.  There's been some damage in the center of the city, near the harbor.  That's mainly reclaimed land, so not entirely surprising that a shake like that would send it back into the sea.  No deaths, and no serious injuries.  I think we're lucky it was Sunday and there were so few people in the office buildings and high-rises.

The trains didn't start going again until this afternoon, so my partner ended up having to drive up to collect the kids and me last night.  And this morning the landlord came and inspected the cinema building, and gave it the all clear.  So, we're back to normal.  Apart from the little aftershocks that jolt us from time to time.

Just hoping this means the pressure on the fault has been relieved, and that we won't have to go through this again any time soon.  It's scary!

Have you ever experienced a serious earthquake?


  1. Too scary, but glad you are okay. Been hearing about them all over the news. I was actually in Tokyo, Japan when the big earthquake hit in 2011... and it was the scariest thing I went through. We were up on level 36 of the hotel, which swayed so much, I was convinced it would snap and fall over. Once we ran down the stairs, the tsunami alarms rang and we headed uphill. Never want to experience that again.

  2. Wow Kate, that's terrifying. I've always heard what it was like, but I've never been in one.

  3. What a big earthquake. I'm glad nothing happened. The worst one I've been in vibrated the house less than a truck passing by, so I've been lucky there. I hope it stays that way.