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Thread: Moved to Wellington - just in time for the quake

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    USA > Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    36

    Unhappy Moved to Wellington - just in time for the quake

    Hi Everyone,

    We just moved to Wellington from the States the day before yesterday, happy to finally be in New Zealand, very jet-lagged . . . and then the earthquake happened.

    We were in the mall here in Lower Hutt, getting our mobile phones so we could start getting settled in. I was standing in the middle of the mall, at a cafe kiosk, when the man making my tea looked up and over my shoulder. I thought, "what's he looking at up there? A bird in the mall?" Then the look on his face was pure fear. I turned around and the giant posters hanging from the ceiling were swaying violently, the lights were swaying, and then the building started to shake. Everyone was running - I just stood there. I've never been in an earthquake! I had no idea what to do and suddenly I was the only person standing there, the building going back and forth. I decided I had to run to where my husband and children were, across the mall - the fastest I've ever run and the most terrified I've ever been. I got there and they pulled me under a desk while the building kept rolling. To say the least, I'm freaked out. The aftershocks last night that kept coming didn't help.

    Honestly, part of me just wants to go home now - where there are no earthquakes. But I'm trying to be a New Zealander about it and not feel so terrified. How do you all go about your lives not worrying about it? Not wanting your children by your side at all times? Not looking around every time you go into a store or cafe to see where you'll hide if a quake hits? Any advice greatly appreciated . . .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    555

    Default

    Firstly, welcome to New Zealand.
    Yesterday's quake, and the number of aftershocks was fairly unusual for Wellington (I live in Tawa). If you came from a place that does not have earthquakes (as I did, I'm from England) I can completely understand why it would freak you out. I've been here three and a half years and yesterday's really bothered me. To experience it while you are still jet lagged must have been terrifying. We can go weeks or even months without having noticeable quakes. I used to go to the geonet website at http://www.geonet.org.nz/ and fill in the 'did you feel it' section. Ticking 'no' against questions such as 'did cupboard doors open?', 'did things fall off shelves?' and 'did furniture or appliances fall over?' helped me put it in perspective. It's scary while it happens, and for a while afterwards, but then you forget about it.

    The first one I felt, just a few weeks after we arrived, was the one that affected me most - because it was so alien to me. I've felt stronger and shakier ones since.
    Make sure you, and your children, know to 'drop, cover, hold' (see www.getthru.govt.nz), make sure you have a plan for where to meet if you are not together if an earthquake happens, and make sure you have emergency supplies in your home (I realise you probably don't have a home yet if you have just arrived) - food, water, wind up or battery operated torch and radio, first aid kit, etc. You'll get used to it.

    Once again, welcome to Welly - it's a great place when it keeps still. :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    USA > Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    36

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    Thanks, Jacqi B. I appreciate the kind words and the advice! I'm hoping I'll feel less shaky as time passes. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing more of the city and being able to just enjoy it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Hawke's Bay -New Zealand
    Posts
    526

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    Welcome to N.Z. TexastoNZ. albeit an unpleasant one. I'm sorry that you had to experience a quake the day you arrive. That was real tough and I can surely understand you being terrified.
    I have lived here all my life, which is a few years now. If it's any consulation, even though you never get used to quakes,you do learn to live with them. Have you got any friends or people that you can visit to help you through the next few days.? Wellington is a lovely place and I hope it won't be long before things settle down and you and your family can begin to enjoy our lovely country.
    Take care and all the best.,
    Last edited by Fern49; 17th August 2013 at 06:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    555

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fern49 View Post
    Welcome to N.Z. Jacqi B
    Thanks, but I think you meant the welcome for TexastoNZ :-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Hawke's Bay -New Zealand
    Posts
    526

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    oops a daisy, but all the best to you to Jacqui B

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland to Wellington
    Posts
    1,454

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    What a bad time to arrive. But at least you have an appreciation of what can happen. Fortunately yesterday's was not too consequential, although there is some damage to a few buildings. The worst problem yesterday was the traffic with everyone wanting to go home at the same time. That is quite understandable. For example, my husband's office swayed and moved quite a lot, whereas I was at home on the deck and I didn't feel it that bad at all so it felt better to come home. Yes, I could see the house and the earth moving and knew it was an earthquake but it was far scarier for people in the CBD than where I was.
    Make sure you have a good stock of extra food, torch, candles, wind-up radio, plastic bags, water supplies (you could at one time get big plastic water bottles from the council office), toilet paper etc. You can get emergency supply rucksacks from the supermarket and moore wilson as well, good to have at work. Also good to have at work is a pair of extra shoes you can walk in. As seen yesterday people ended up walking because the traffic was so bad. There are little things like make sure your car is filled up and your phone is always charged and topped up. Good idea to have supplies in your car and bag as well, little things like muesli bars, first aid kit, whistle etc. Of course these are not just for earthquakes, where we used to live our power and water occasionally went off and we got snowed in so tended to have a lot of supplies just in case. Or rather aspired to have most of the time. You do learn to live with it to be honest.
    Hope things are not quite so wobbly where you are now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    555

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    I've just seen this link which might be useful for you and your children (I haven't actually read it).
    Also, if you have a Facebook account, follow WREMO (Wellington Region Emergency Management Office) https://www.facebook.com/WREMOnz which is where I got the link from.
    Oh and consider getting a grab and go bag (either from WREMO or some supermarkets) - it has lots of useful things in it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    NZ to US to NZ. Opua
    Posts
    1,470

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    Rather than anticipating an earthquake, you can cross it off the list right away! Now there are only good things to look forward to.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    USA > Wellington, NZ
    Posts
    36

    Default

    Thanks everyone, you've made me feel better. We spent the day out and about looking at rentals, grocery shopping, etc so that made things feel more normal. Only a few little tremors last night so that was better too. I'll definitely get the supplies stocked in soon so that I feel more prepared - I guess that's all you can do, right? Though I do admit we've been looking at neighborhoods to move to and I've been seeking out info on the less wobbly locations! So far, Khandallah's at the top of my list. Looks pretty solid Any other suggestions for safe locations (i.e. not on the fault line or in the tsunami zone?)

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