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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Christchurch earthquake commemoration at Auckland War Memorial Museum - 1 year on.

I can't believe it's a year already! In some ways it's zoomed by ... in others unbearably slow.

I wanted to feel connected to Christchurch today.  Not that it is ever far from my mind with so many connections down there still, I figured a good way to feel this would be to do something that the Cantabs are, so I decided to buy some flowers yesterday to put in road cones :)

I made little bunches up [6 in all] and attached a card with a few words on each one and then just past midnight, my partner and I drove around and found some cones.

It included a trip to the domain ;) The Museum looked beautiful as usual.  I couldn't help thinking about Auckland and its iconic buildings.  I wonder if people in Auckland [or anywhere else actually] stop to think what it may feel like to actually SEE piles of rubble where their "anchors of identity" had once been. What that experience may be like?  I never did pre September 2010 either.   Since experiencing the February 2011 quake and many of them afterwards [I visit Christchurch often], I've become so aware of my surroundings and the buildings that definitely would fall in a good quake in Auckland.

Then later on today I played a part in Auckland War Memorial Museum’s commemorations held in the Grand Foyer.

Such a lovely service, first with beautiful music by the Forvari quartet, then readings from ‘The Broken Book’ and ‘The Quake Year’ by Christchurch author Fiona Farrell which bought me to tears that I’d been on the verge of all morning. Sir Don McKinnon and our director Roy Clare then each said a few words.  Myself and another member of staff Muriel then had the huge honour of ringing the large bell from the S.S. Ionic at the start and end of the 2 minutes silence – as staff members, we had both experienced the quake in February. Such an outpouring of emotion mixed with love and gratitude.

Afterwards, the sister of someone who died in the CTV building came up to thank the museum via me for having the service. We hugged as she mentioned her sister. On a whim I said a name and asked if that was her sister. The look of shock on her face said it all. It transpired that her sister was a close friend of my aunt. Sometimes people cross our paths for a reason and today I was glad I was able to hug her and give her comfort here in Auckland.

The event at Auckland was televised briefly - I'm in it for barely a second, standing by the bell that Muriel and I rung.

It's been a hugely emotional day capped off by viewing 'When a City Falls" in the Museum auditorium.  For me I think the most poignant part in that film was when the film maker [I think it was him - so many clips from other people were used it was hard to tell the crossover sometimes], was doing an almost panicked walk towards the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and stating how he'd been, I think an altar or choir boy.  As he got closer, hearing how distraught he was on what he saw - I don't know why that section wrenched at me quite a bit.   Recognising in other people how you exactly felt on the day is very surreal - disbelief, feeling like vomiting, panic, desperate fear at not knowing how friends and family are, fearful of the constant aftershocks and how everyone is going to recover from this are firmly there forever for me like one big body memory.

A video compiled by TVNZ  "Powerful images of the quake" time to reflect.