Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: The shakes

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  • Russell Brown,

    The FIRST WORD of the FIRST STORY of the Herald on Sunday's quake coverage today is LOOTING.

    I expect there'll be ZOMBIES soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I expect there'll be ZOMBIES soon.

    Of course there will -- zombies are always cool. Law of nature.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Kris V,

    hey, I've seen Zombieland.... just give me a chainsaw and I'll be fine!!!

    Shakeytown • Since Nov 2008 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Are we talking 28 Days Later, or Shaun of the Dead?

    That HoS was WAY over the top. And just journalistically imprudent as well. Once you've already used the "Doomsday" headline, what's left when you hit an actual doomsday? (Actually, probably not even a newspaper, so I guess they were just getting in while they could).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Very nice take down of the frankly hysterical and stupid tone of far too much of the media coverage.

    I agree, Craig. But full credit to national radio for their coverage- especially yesterday morning. And the civil defence response seems to have been really impressive.
    I went to a very interesting lecture at Vic recently by John McClure. He is a psychology professor interested in the idea of attribution - ie how we explain and interpret events - and how that relates to fatalism and whether or not we bother to prepare for natural disasters. The 16 year old son of friends of ours in Fendalton suffered minor injuries when a bookshelf fell on him in bed - it really is worth doing stuff like making sure there are no heavy objects above your bed, and bolting bookshelves to the wall. Not that they were fatalistic, like everyone else they were completely taken by surprise.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    From about midday yesterday, police spokespeople on TV1 news were playing down reports of looting, saying it was one or two isolated incidents, perhaps someone helping themselves to the contents of a broken shop window in the early hours of the morning. Meanwhile the news ticker on the bottom of the screen had "Reports of looting" hours later. Too good a headline to give up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I went to a very interesting lecture at Vic recently by John McClure.

    You may remember him for such public lectures as "How explanations shape destinies: The psychology of causation", which is available for online viewing.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I thought there were very much two narratives at work. The "The post-apocalyptic WASTELAND" and the "That's pretty dratting inconvenient".
    Even National Radio, which at least had good coverage of neighbours checking on each other and the orderly assessment of services, succumbed on occasion (such as when the geologist was asked if he could give the force of the earthquake in nuclear weapon equivalents (as it happens he couldn't and was a little baffled by the question)).
    I think part of this was that reporters were actually the first hand witnesses in the case, rather than interviewing other people who were directly involved. Because the reporters were caught up in the dramatics of what had changed, it was a different filtering role for the further back editorial staff. Some rose to the challenge better than others.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 898 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    We had a Public Address sleep-over last night, and a couple of gins to put the Civil back in Civil Defence Emergency. Now our neighbour is mowing his lawn.

    Well, that or zombies. Mowing something.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I agree, Craig. But full credit to national radio for their coverage- especially yesterday morning.

    Quite right -- but as Russell pointed out to me, the Sunday Star Times was under the same deadline constraints as the HoS and managed to get the tone right. Even Nat Radio got a wee bit OTT at times (which may well be inevitable when you're covering a fast breaking story in real time), but managed to walk it back when more reliable information came to hand.

    The real problem is that the Herald stable now seems incapable of not living down to George Bernard Shaw's snark that "“Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.”

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Well, that or zombies. Mowing something.

    YouTube won't let me link directly to the lawnmower scene from Brain Dead, because I am too young and impressionable.

    It's the Garden City though, so there should be plenty of pitchforks and such at hand? Trowels?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    @Raymond. It certainly must be hard for you, as I take it you are on a holiday from N Otago/S Canterbury (45 degrees latitude?). I myself have sort of got used to being out of touch for this kind of thing being in London for a couple of years now.

    The English certainly have been pretty good about the earthquake, as it has got reasonable coverage over here in the media. I've had a lot of locals quiz me about it today

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But full credit to national radio for their coverage- especially yesterday morning.

    Agreed, apart from the odd glitch.

    GNS scientist: We are saying it measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.

    Mary Wilson: So how much energy did it release?

    GNS scientist: I'm not sure what you mean!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Kia ora to Cantabrians. I’m very conscious that we in Gisborne got off lightly in the 2007 earthquake – your earthquake (Magnitude 7.1, sourced 40 km west of central Christchurch) was of the severity Gisborne might have expected as the big one. But instead ours (M6.8, sourced 60 km away out to sea) at its worst was a notch down at MM7 rather than MM8 in parts of Christchurch, on the Modified Mercalli scale of earthquake intensity. (Not to be confused with the one measure of Magnitude for each earthquake – intensity varies with distance from the earthquake source, distance allowing for focal depth of that source, not just map-distance to the epicentre.)

    So my losses in a well-built 1970s timber house on a concrete pad on firm ground totalled one jar of marmalade, while next-door neighbours in an old cottage on piles lost their chimney and more.

    An amazing thing to me was that the apparently modest amount of visible damage in Gisborne and environs ended up costing around $60 million. So I find it hard to believe the much higher intensity and infrastructural damage over a much larger area with at least 15 times the population will end up at only $2 billion. I find a 2.5 multiplier on initial estimates works really well in many circumstances and suggest this will be one.

    From Gisborne experience, repair of the priority infrastructure will be well organised and won’t take as long as might be expected. For owners of damaged houses, Gisborne gave EQC etc valuable training on managing the processes – it will be fairly good but with potential for plenty of exceptions and difficulties with the huge demand when it comes to implementation.

    And there will be major difficulties with commercial buildings, over disagreements on style of the repair/rebuild, and insurance companies paying only for rebuild to equivalence of previous state rather than paying for upgrade to earthquake standards that those buildings for the most part did not comply with previously. Leaving owners with financial dilemmas and more that will go on for years. There will be intense local politics in all this, Bob Parker no doubt thinking ahead.

    Mark Quigley (CU geologist) was very good on the Morning Report special this morning on the nature of the earthquake and identifying the surface rupture above the earthquake source. So this is a previously unknown fault in the middle of the Canterbury Plains, conforming to the pattern of plate boundary faults to the north, with up to 3.5 metres of mainly lateral displacement. Confirming there is a degree of surprise at the severity of the earthquake in Christchurch. Previously the most likely damaging earthquake in Christchurch was expected to be from a great earthquake much further away on the Alpine Fault or one of its well-known off-shoots – hence my comment stranded on the Random Play thread, posted yesterday morning in the same minute Jolisa launched this one -

    Best wishes to the Cantabrians in dealing with your surprising earthquake, stirring up under the Canterbury plains, determined to demonstrate the "ongoing dynamic geological character of NZ".

    Where “surprising” in respect of the earthquake was for its intensity in Christchurch and for its source, not that Christchurch had experienced a damaging earthquake at all.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 836 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Wasn't the whole of "The Nation" devoted to it? Not that I watched it all, but it recorded and skipping through it it certainly seemed that way.

    You're quite right, Graeme. I was wrong on that count and was logging on now to correct that. Don't know why I failed to remember that I watched some of that, but anyway... I was flicking back and forth before that and was pretty disappointed and surprised to see nothing from TV3 until 11am, and nothing between "The Nation" and six o'clock.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    45 South is in North Otago - there's a plaque on a small cairn not long before you get to the Waitaki Bridge (if you're coming from Oamaru, travelling north...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Weird that Johns Carter and Key were both still* saying that it was a 7.4 shock followed by a 7.1 aftershock at about noon yesterday, many hours after all media had issued the revised measurement.

    *The same clips were being shown much later in the afternoon, but I'm just talking about the initial live media conferences.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Islander, yes, I grew up a couple of kilometres to the north of that plaque and Scott Base. The plaque is a good place to pull in to answer the cell phone, with its parking bay.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The real problem is that the Herald stable now seems incapable of not living down to George Bernard Shaw's snark that "“Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.”

    Next thing they'll be reporting will be that Dr Evil, the Quantum Organisation, and/or the Taliban deliberately triggered the quake.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Mary Wilson: So how much energy did it release?
    GNS scientist: I'm not sure what you mean!

    Silly man - this is typically done in the MSM using units of "atomic bombs"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    "Next thing they'll be reporting will be that Dr Evil, the Quantum Organisation, and/or the Taliban deliberately triggered the quake."


    This would never have happened if they'd left Hubbard in charge of South Cantebury Finance. Lousy interfering government.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Susannah Shepherd,

    @Craig

    Here's something I thought of. Yesterday, I managed to find out that all my Canterbury friends and rellies were OK in a matter of hours.

    Atfer the Edgecumbe Quake in 1987, it was five days before I was able to talk to my parents.

    Absolutely. Thanks to a bit of triangulation via the much-maligned Facebook and a few txts to the older family members who didn't automatically think to update their profiles from their mobile phones :-) we were able to account for almost all the whanau and friends by lunchtime, and figure out who we could call on in Chch to do some door-to-door for us if we weren't able to get in touch with others by later in the day. We only had to make one actual phone call.

    The geology of this fascinates me - it looks like the NW of the city has got off lightly, but anything that used to be swamp or landfill is in trouble. I was amazed to hear of a colleague's 3 year old sleeping through the whole thing in Bryndwr while I was lying in bed in Wellington contemplating whether I should head for the doorframe as the floor kept going round and round for a very long time.

    I'm also now slightly less sanguine about sleeping three feet from a 19th century brick wall which is the only thing between me and a 5 metre drop to the street... I'm going to be quite interested to find out how many facades have collapsed in heritage buildings which have been strengthened in recent years.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But full credit to national radio for their coverage- especially yesterday morning.

    Agreed, apart from the odd glitch.

    I think their big error was reporting for hours yesterday that Civil Defence and police had decided to "evacuate" the CBD.

    It wasn't corrected until a CD and then a police spokesperson came on the Checkpoint special and explained to Mary Wilson that while there was a cordon, there had at no stage been an evacuation order. Whoops.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The geology of this fascinates me - it looks like the NW of the city has got off lightly, but anything that used to be swamp or landfill is in trouble.

    Check out the pic of the Avon in Hagley Park here.

    The riverbed now seems to sit higher than the surrounding fields, which are now where all the water is. Lord knows where they start on remediating that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Also, for people not following it on Twitter, Emma and family are feeling fortunate to have both electricity and sewerage. They've been hosting the less fortunate.

    But David and Jen have returned to their house in Avonside to find that they still have no electricity or water service.

    Avonside is munted, basically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

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