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Saturday, 4 September 2010 -  The Darfield Quake

From the shakey isle. Christchurch 5 Sept. 2010. Consider securing your chimney with galvanised metal bands before the big one hits.       

 The Canterbury area was woken by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, it was a real shock.

Did you feel the quake? If you were in Christchurch on Friday night it was impossible not to! It was a very nasty shake. The initial quake lasted about 40 seconds. A foreshock of roughly magnitude 5.8 hit five seconds before the main quake which woke many people. In the first 15 hours, there were 28 aftershocks over magnitude 4, ranging up to 5.4.  Its epicentre, 43.54°S, 172.23°E, was 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Christchurch, 10km se of Darfield, ripped a new 11-foot-wide fault in the earth's surface and pushed some surface areas up about three feet (a metre), [Highfield road, south end and Telegraph Rd] photos. The quake was caused by the ongoing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. One side of the earth has lurched to the right ... up to 11 feet (3.5 metres) and in some places been thrust up. The epicentre was at a shallow depth of 10 km. Saturday Sept. 4th.  Aftershocks from Sept 4th to 10th Sept. there have been 388 shocks. Number of aftershocks daily from Day 1 - 93, 98,  80, 47, 40, 19 tapering off. 683 aftershocks as of 17 Sep. 2300 hours.

Time stood still. The city clock on Victoria St., the old Old Railway Station clock tower on Moorhouse Avenue (a trip switch stopped the pendulum) and the Arts Centre Clock, CHCH all stopped at 4.35am. The clock on the Waitaki District Council building in Oamaru stopped at 4:36am. Also the Dunedin Town Hall clock and the University of Otago clock tower stopped working in Dunedin.

The first tremor was severe enough to set the bells ringing in the Christchurch Cathedral tower. "Thank God for earthquake strengthening 10 years ago," Anglican Dean of Christchurch, Rev. Peter Beck, told TV One News on Sunday. Historic homesteads and the old Anglican churches have been hit hard. Falling chimneys did a lot of damage to historic homesteads that once housed Canterbury landed aristocracy. The Deans have lost their beautiful homestead at Homebush near Darfield, antiques and history ruined. Other examples: “Gunyah” at Hororata, the Ohinetahi homestead at Governor's Bay and Godley House at Diamond Harbour. They are history now. The damage was haphazard. There was a pattern of severe damage in small zones surrounding relatively unscathed buildings.  Old masonry and brick buildings have been hardest hit.

It was pretty scary. Power was lost. Things inside had fallen but the modern townhouse was so structurally sound. Were fortunate to have a beautiful clear sunny day after a nasty frost that morning that helped in the cleaning up and repairing of power lines and roofs. Power came on at 9:00 A.M., and other areas 10:30 A.M.  "There has not been a house or a family in our city who have not suffered damage in some way,'' Mr Bob Parker (Mayor of Christchurch) said. "But this is a city working together to do what we can before nightfall."  A dairy factory and several farms in rural Canterbury have also been hit hard by the quake. Several tankers have had to be re-directed. Several grain silos near Darfield are also damaged. The milking sheds came off their rollers in the quake so farmers were struggling to milk their cows up Dunsandel way.  Electricity was the major problem facing north Canterbury's farmers. Farmers were helping each other - those who have electricity and generators were helping to milk neigbours herds. "The welfare of livestock will now be of prime concern to farmers and we appreciate the offers now coming in from fellow farmers," said the Federated Farmers spokesman.

There were no deaths but some close calls. Two people have been reported seriously injured in the quake. A taxi driver was injured when his taxi was crushed by falling masonry, in the CBD, a few were injured by brick chimneys collapsing through their roofs. Imagine Manchester Street at lunch time with all that masonry falling to the scary. Unreinforced brick walls collapsed throughout Christchurch especially in the CBD.  It is amazing how little damage has happened around the city which is not to say that everything escaped. There has been extensive damage in some places but most people had no or little damage and most buildings are still standing. However it's the older heritage buildings that have taken the hits even some that had been earthquake strengthened. Sometimes buildings look OK from the street but they have taken a lot of internal damage. Many houses have lost chimneys but are otherwise OK. It struck at 0435 local time and the timing helped as most people were in bed. It was same size jolt that hit Haiti that killed thousands. It proves poverty kills. There is also the lack of corruption here. An engineer will sign off a building because he thinks it is right not because someone paid him a bribe. Same goes for the contractors; they don't use shoddy concrete or steel etc. Admittedly we have a lower population density, but it was remarkable all the same. This quake was the most damaging since the 1931 Napier quake and there has been strict building codes enforced since then. The chooks were going crazy in their henhouse - the rooster was crowing away in distress. Dogs were barking. Actually, it was surreal. Many cats, dogs and rabbits were scared and took fright adding to people's post quake stress and some owners turned to the internet in a desperate attempt to find their pet. I had a look at Trade-me, the N.Z. auction site, on September 18th and there were 127 items for lost earthquake cats and a few people trying to buy bricks. Black birds were silent for two weeks after the quake.  Highfield Rd- south end.

 First thought - Wellington must of been flatten.

The Churches took a hit

 Before. St. Peter's, Temuka, Oct. 2009. After. St. Peter's, Temuka, Nov. 2010. 
St. Peter's Anglican Church, Temuka. Before and after.

The old churches have been badly hit with the stone gables falling - they are relatively thin vertical cantilever panels of masonry and were probably ineffectively tied into the roof structure. It's gravity engineering -the higher up, the more the movement.

In South Canterbury the quake damaged masonry on six churches but overall the district had ‘‘got off lightly’’. There was damage to St Mary's Anglican Church tower which saw a pinnacle crash to the ground after Saturday's earthquake. The three remaining pinnacles were removed at the Timaru District Council's request. The stone crosses on the roof points were removed with the help of a crane and roof tiles were damaged by falling debris. The stonework on both sides of the sanctuary had zigzag cracking. Significant cracking had also occurred inside the recently restored tower, with the full extent of the damage not yet known.  The visible damage is just the tip of the iceberg. The Church of the Holy Innocents at Mt. Peel was significantly damaged, with the wall behind the altar cracked and crumbling and the main stained-glass window smashed. The 1907 window was dedicated to J.B.A. Acland and his wife Emily. The church had been gifted to the Christchurch Diocese, which would oversee the claim to the Earthquake Commission. In Temuka, St. Joseph's Church spire was moved by 10cm, leaving it balanced precariously. Father Brian Fennessy said yesterday's morning mass had to be held elsewhere. "We're not using the church for the meantime until we have had it inspected and fixed." Temuka's Trinity Presbyterian Church on Hally Terrace was still closed yesterday after a roof sculpture crashed down. St. Peter's Anglican Church in Temuka also had a cross fall and the gable damaged. It wasn't only the Anglican Churches damaged. Also St Paul's, Seddon Street, is in jeopardy; it has a huge crack in it which opens more with each aftershock. It said that to repair all Presbyterian churches in the Canterbury quake area will cost $8 million. The veranda and part of the facade down on Temuka's Royal Hotel came down with a big crack runs down the rear wall (repair work started in Sept. 2011) and also a number of chimneys around the Timaru and Washdyke area collapsed. At the mouth of the Orari Gorge there is a 70-metre-long fissure and about a metre deep. The earthquake caused about $2000 worth of damage to the stained glass, in the 104year Quinn’s Arcade, it was New Zealand’s first shopping arcade and links Grigson and High Sts, in Waimate. The building is listed as category 2 by the Heritage NZ. It is being restored by the town's for the town’s promotional group, Project Waimate. Glaziers have been restoring coloured glass in its Grigson St arch and replacing broken clear panes through out the building. The Timaru District Council building adviser said reports of damage to 133 buildings had been received to date, Oct. 14. Of the damaged buildings, 28 were serious enough to require cordoning off and urgent remedial work, or inspection by structural engineers. The majority were located in either the Timaru or Temuka urban areas, with about 75% being residential, about 10% heritage and 10% commercial buildings. Chimney damage was reported in 41 cases. A bit stronger, a bit shallower, and at a different time of the day, and the quake could have been a killer. Everywhere in New Zealand is earthquake prone. The Alpine Fault still poses the most likely risk to South Canterbury. Reference: The Timaru Herald 6/09/2010  St Paul's at Totora Valley was also damaged.

7 Sep. 2010 PM John Key statement to parliament "It was a frightening experience for everyone, but it has proven one thing: that in the worst of times, you see the best of New Zealand. I have been impressed by the community spirit shown..."

"I often think as I see New Zealand what a wonderful country it is and how lucky we are. It is often in the worst of times that we see the best of New Zealand on display. Subsequent to this earthquake there has been great acts of kindness, great sense of community and of spirit..."  John Key, PM 8 Sept. 2010.  

St. Joseph, Temuka. Nov. 2010 by M. The spire and pinnacles have been removed. 
St. Joseph's, Temuka. After.

The Timaru Herald 03/11/2010 Damaged in the Canterbury earthquake and numerous aftershocks.
The first of four pinnacles are taken down from St Joseph's Church in Temuka. Repair work has started on the earthquake-damaged St Joseph's Church in Temuka, but there is no telling how long it will be until the church is returned to its original state.  Removing the pinnacles and the top of the steeple was to "stop the danger element", as there was the potential for them to fall in another big jolt. The pinnacles had come loose and swivelled around, same as the top of the spire. It was a long, careful process, but the removal work was expected to be finished today. As St Joseph's Church had a Heritage NZ listing and a Timaru District Council listing, Opus needed to work with all the stakeholders before deciding what repair work would be done, which would take time. Once the pinnacles and steeple were removed, she had to photograph, document and assess the pieces in what was a "very slow process". It was only the beginning as with each aftershock, the damage worsened. "We're finding ... old cracks reopening, some are new, some are getting worse. Some are open and close again."

Timaru Herald July 7 2015
Nine Catholic churches were damaged in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The churches in Pleasant Point and Temuka have both been closed since the quakes due to significant damage. The diocese's property and development manager, said both were receiving a lot of attention now. "It's good news, which is the important thing." St Joseph's in Temuka will be a phased repair, which means it will be done in stages. It will also mean the doors can be opened before it is completed. A new church will be built to replace St Mary's in Pleasant Point. Looking at the economy case, was it better to strengthen or better to move ahead and build a new one? The community voted they preferred a new space ... We've listened to what the parishioners have to say." The journey to getting a new church was not a quick one. St Thomas' Church on Mountain View Rd was the second church in the scheme to be completed. The Fairlie and Albury churches had no significant work to be done. The Sacred Heart Basilica was one of the more challenging churches in the diocese because of the strengthening work to be undertaken.

Mt. Peel before and after.
   The three light stained glass windows no longer exist. After. Old corrugated iron comes in handy. Mt Peel, Oct. 2010. 

A friend has a 2 storey 1985 house that is very well built upstairs. She was under the door frame and she rocked.

70km north of Christchurch we just got the huge shake no damage though. Houses in Christchurch were full of cracks and were waiting to be inspected. May only be surface stuff but time will tell. There was major liquefaction in Christchurch and Kaiapoi and other areas near rivers with sand boils and subsidence. Kaiapoi was a disaster zone as the sand has liquified and come up through their houses. A whole street has been condemned. Many 5 -10 year old homes on reclaimed land have been fractured. Liquefaction made the foundations drop down or pushed up and ripped them apart. Some homes have a metre split right through the middle. From the air you can see the fault line through the paddocks. It is incredible! A line of trees moved 4 metres and other shelter belts previously straight had a huge curve in them. All the stuff just rose up through the ground, like mud geysers, and deposited about four inches of sand on top it was awful mainly on reclaimed land, e.g. swamp land. In city suburbs like Dallington almost every chimney was down. Many were without water and sewer for some time but everything back on now.  In an upstairs flat when the quake hit flatmates really freaked out. Things inside had fallen, lot of books etc. scattered over the floor. They will never forget. The aftershocks have been awful some really quite big which is making it worse. A number of people have lost their homes in Kaiapoi due to liquefaction. The western side of Kaiapoi came through it ok. It is going to be a long long long haul to make it right. It has been a very traumatic time for everyone. Supermarkets are trying to clear all the items off the everywhere and shelves emptied. Libraries had books on the floor and shelving concertinaed. Staff were distressed and emotional as they had their own problems at home. The Avon river went over its banks and then back again. The contents of swimming pool sloshed into neighouring properties. Gangs from glass businesses from Timaru and elsewhere arrived in Christchurch without even being asked. They managed to get glass from Dunedin as well as their storage, and replaced windows at schools so the kids could go back. All the glass at a warehouse in ChCh was smashed in the quake. The aftershocks have been so unsettling, in the first month there were 1300 and up to 26 Nov. there have been 3304 aftershocks.  "You just live with them in ChCh."  Kids in ChCh were so traumatised by it all. They panic every time there is an aftershock and they were having up to 10 a day up there. In Timaru they were only getting the bigger ones. Some families sent kids to relatives in Timaru and Waimate to get then away from the aftershocks.

Aftershocks have left us a bit shakey. Hard minor cracks on the floor, some walls and one ceiling. Had the first inspection by EQC. Next the land has to be inspected and all the carpets lifted and all the floors inspected by an engineer. After that if the land is declared safe, will get an assessment for repairs either a cheque for EQC if under $NZ15,000 but over that EQC takes over.

St. Mary's, Timaru Sept. M.  After. 
St. Mary's Timaru. After.

It was a real jolt. Falling chimneys did a lot of damage.

Chimney losses may clear air.  In Christchurch at least one in nine houses suffered chimney damage. The fine weather had been a blessing.  There are shattered brick chimneys, scattered across the roofs of timber-framed homes that flexed with the quake and survived. Damage to hundreds of brick chimneys in Christchurch and Kaiapoi may be under the roofline and not visible and the chimneys should be treated as dangerous until they can be inspected by a bricklayer. Residents were advised not to use open fires because of the risk of further aftershocks that could damage chimneys. Structural integrity was not a guarantee even if chimneys and retaining walls looked OK. The Lyttelton Timeball Station built in 1876, which was strengthened about five years ago, survived reasonably intact although a large section of a central chimney smashed through part of the roof and came through one of the ceilings and some water damage was caused when the sprinklers went off. Now is the time to secure to the wall big items such as grandfather clocks and bookcases and chimneys can be strapped to the houses ready for the next biggie. Sept. 15 2010 - So far 53,000 claims have been lodged in CHCH with the EQC - 15,000 of those claims are for chimney damage. The Earthquake Commission (EQC) had received 1252 claims from Timaru as of 22nd Sept. As of 2 Oct. there were 17,000 claims for chimney damage, with almost half those for houses where the chimney was the only thing damaged. There are an estimated 160,000 homes in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. TV3 full story Just over 150,000 have been lodged with the EQC as of Dec. 4th deadline. The final tally of claims for South Canterbury stood at 4900 which included 4492 in Timaru, 260 in Waimate and 169 in Mackenzie.  Although more than 3650 claims in the region were for "minor" damage – under $10,000 – it is estimated the total value of all claims lodged will be more than $7 million. Three homes in Timaru and one in Pleasant Point incurred significant damage (more than $100,000). The biggest number of claims has been for damage to interior walls and doors, while more than 1790 South Canterbury homeowners claimed on damage to external walls as a result of the earthquakes. About 780 homeowners had claimed for damaged chimneys, but only a small number had claimed for damage to hand basins (57) or toilets (40). Waitaki district (226) claims - there were four cases classed as having serious damage, 36 with moderate and 188 with minor damage. There were 107 claims for damage to interior walls, 90 for damage to external walls and 63 for damage to ceilings. As of Dec. 14 the EQC had paid out nearly $450 million on 35,667 building claims, 25,008 contents claims and 11 minor land claims. As of April 15, 2011, the February quake was responsible for more than 735 EQC claims from the Timaru District, 49 in Waimate and 26 in Mackenzie.

Neighbours lost their chimneys. 

Corner of Strathallan and Stafford Streets, Timaru.
After. Corner of Stafford and Strathallan streets, Timaru. The two chimneys were taken down brick by brick.

22nd Sep. 2010 the two chimneys on the building bedside the Community House (the old PGG building) (Community House has 23 offices as well as interview and meeting rooms. It was officially opened in March 2007) on the corner of Stafford and Strathallan streets, Timaru were declared unsafe after finding cracks on the Aoraki Development Trust (ADT) side due to the Darfield earthquake on the 4th Sept. The two buildings were evacuated and the two-tonne chimneys are to be removed today brick by brick with the help of a crane. Each chimney had at least four chimney pots.   

The Gladstone, Fairlie, Sept. 2010.

Gladstone from across the Main Street. Jan. 1st. 2010.
Little damage in Fairlie but it was a rude awakening!

Chimneys toppled throughout Canterbury. Merivale area, CHCH 6 Sept.2010 The Press   Feeling shaken! CHCH CBD chimney Sept. 4 2010. Fetch on the # 8 wire, and we'll be right attitude.
Repaired -with a lightweight timber frame and brick veneer. New bricks must be used in chimney repairs to ensure a sturdy stack. The New Zealand Building Code prohibits the reuse of bricks unless they pass strength testing. "Once a brick's been used, all the micro-pores in the brick have been filled up with the cement or the lime mortar. The next time they're used, those aren't available and therefore the bind between two bricks is `under code' – it's not strong enough."

 Damage and heartbreak everywhere. 

Sep. 8. 0948 Just had another big aftershock, only 5.1 but was shallow and the epicentre close to Chch so it actually felt like the 7.1 we had. Lucky it was only a short sharp jolt so just a few things off shelves and power off for about 10min. It was another wake up for me, the earthquakes just won't let me sleep. Riccarton Mall has been evacuated because of a gas leak. We only had about 15 aftershocks yesterday, down from the average of 30-40 the previous days so we thought things were quieting down until the aftershock this morning. Looks like they won't be opening the CBD for a while and uni opening on Monday sounds optimistic. A few people had a little damage to their house but nothing major from the Saturday earthquake. Looks like just a few cosmetic cracks appeared in the branches but otherwise we are already to open and soon as the CBD is given the all clear we will be opening. I've just been told to stay safe and wait until I get a call to come into work. They are also talking about reduced business hours until things pick up again.

Sep. 11. Didn't hear of any damage in the immediate Amberley area, except for a few ornaments falling down, and of course shattered nerves! The aftershocks are still going on, four since midnight felt in the city. We went into Christchurch yesterday, for the first time, and the first signs of damage were at Woodend - chimneys and church 'pointy bits.'

The week before the quake, I also stood in Lincoln, at the university just down the road giving a speech on what the future for dairying might be in 20 years' time. I said a key influence would be the things that we don't predict. So now hindsight tells us that the Canterbury earthquake has brought us closer together - the stories of people mucking in and helping out have been extraordinary. In the rural community on Saturday morning, Federated Farmers swung into action, focusing on the response to power, water, cowshed and building damage. Our communication staff, the 0800 FARMING team, field officers, elected representatives and volunteers all worked on providing practical solutions. We helped ensure all herds had been milked at least once by Sunday. This was a testament to rural collaboration and frankly something I am proud of. On Saturday afternoon I think we surprised our city cousins when I rang Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and asked him if there was anything that the rural community could do to help those affected badly in the city area. We offered tractors, labour and tankers for water. After the discussion with Mr Parker, I contacted Fonterra and in 20 minutes there were four milk tankers converted to cart fresh water into the welfare centres in Christchurch. This operation started on Saturday evening. Urban and rural New Zealand has far more in common than there are differences. In my view, New Zealand's identity is founded on at least two key things - our Maori culture and secondly our rugged authentic "ruralness". The advertising world uses rural imaging and characters when they want to convey true "kiwi-ness". Conor English is chief executive of Federated Farmers. But when our places get threatened, of course we all put our shoulder to the wheel. Federated Farmers held a meeting in Darfield on the Thursday following the quake which was a classic example of the community pulling together. We had more than 500 adults attend and about 100 children. The meeting featured several speakers, including Government Ministers, Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and David Carter. The night was rounded off by broadcasters, Jamie MacKay, Richard Loe and Dick Taylor to provide some light entertainment, followed by a free barbecue and beer donated by sponsors. What didn't surprise me, on a chilly evening, was how long people hung around for. You see, if humans were trees they would want to be part of a forest. Solitary confinement is used as a punishment. It is heartening therefore, with events such as the earthquake, that we don't expect people to stand alone, but we rush to support them. We are all part of the good old resilient Kiwi forest. Long may this continue. For the rest of New Zealand, Christchurch is an example of the unexpected actually happening and people responding perhaps not unexpectedly. The question we need to ask is, are we ready for the day when perhaps Wellington turns from Coke Zero to Ground Zero? By Conor English Friday Sep 24, 2010 NZ Herald

Earthquake poem  
They keep diving for cover in ChCh.  

The 2nd event - 22 Feb. 2011
Quite busy dropping a lot of chimneys, even some restored chimneys have broken off again and gone through the houses etc.. Aftershocks make it a bit more interesting up on the roof. You feel all the little ones especially on two story houses. Concrete tiles roofs around have performed quite well, they don't have cracks, haven't lost any tiles. Look like newer roofs look like truss construction. The iron and metal tile seem to have performed quite well. Differently would not have a brick chimney, differently worth giving a serve.

One forty years earlier

Timaru Herald, 9 June 1869, Page 3
Christchurch, Monday. At eight o'clock on Saturday morning there was a violent shock of earthquake, with a rumbling noise preceding it. The shock caused great alarm, and resulted in the overthrow of many chimneys. The Government buildings were slightly damaged. The tower of St. John's Church was rent, Matson's buildings were severely shaken, and the New Zealand Trust and Loan Company's offices were damaged. The shock lasted five seconds. Three smaller shocks, followed the main shock on Saturday. There were two shocks felt on Sunday. No lives were lost, although several chimneys fell through the roofs of houses. From the
Lyttelton Times of Monday we extract the following a series of shocks from earthquake have been felt throughout the province since Saturday morning, causing some damage to property. The first was the most severe and the worst that has been experienced for many years. It occurred about eight a.m. on Saturday, and slight vibrations were felt several times during the day, a very distinct shock taking place in the evening, and another yesterday afternoon. Between four and five o'clock on Saturday morning, a loud subterranean noise was heard, which continued for upwards of a minute, and was accompanied by a slight tremor of the earth. At five seconds past eight o'clock a severe shock was experienced, its direction being from south to north, and the vibration continuing for fully twenty seconds. Great alarm was caused in the more populous thoroughfares, and especially in the vicinity of stone buildings. While houses were still shaking, and chimneys falling in almost every direction, men, women, and children were rushing terror stricken into the open air, and one person living at a short distance from the city compares the mingled sound borne through the air to the rush of a large railway train with the steam whistle giving forth its shrill shriek. Several slight disturbances were noticed at later periods during the day. Yesterday afternoon also, a smart shock was experienced at twenty minutes past two. In most cases the damage is confined to rent or fallen chimneys. The Government Buildings, more especially the new Council Chambers, have perhaps suffered most. The tops of two of the old chimneys have fallen down, the coping over the main entrance to the Council Chambers, and the apex stone of the gable over the retiring room are shaken back, one stone in the arch over the Bellamy staircase is displaced, and there are a few fractures m the plastering. The new offices of the New Zealand Insurance Company, in Hereford street, have sustained damage, and so have the offices belonging to Messrs Matson and Co. close by. The offices of the New Zealand Trust and Loan Company, also in Hereford street, are damaged, and we have heard that one side of a small brick house has been shaken completely out. The spire of St. John's Church has been damaged, and the new Supreme Court buildings now m the course of erection, are somewhat shaken. Some of the shopkeepers, particularly those in the china and glass trade, have been heavy losers. As an instance of this, we may mention that Messrs Wier Brothers, Colombo-street, china and glass merchants, estimate their loss at £100. Most of the chemists and druggists are losers to some extent, Messrs Cook and Ross being the greatest. In several hotel bars the bottles fell from the shelves in a perfect shower, causing considerable loss. The damage to private dwellings it would be impossible to enumerate, as but very few escaped either injury to chimneys or household goods. We may, however, notice Mr F. J. Garrick, whose chimney fell through the roof, breaking several pier glasses, and Mr Hennah, Avonside, who is a very heavy loser.

Earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project