Repair, Rebuild, Repeat
by Brenda Greene
2010 was a year not to be forgotten in New Zealand History. My husband and I walked into New Zealand house in London to hear there had been an earthquake in Christchurch. My first reaction was – well, we are not called the Shaky Isles for nothing.
Little did we know at the time how large and how devastating that earthquake was, and how it and the ones to follow would change the lives, the landscape and the people of Christchurch and Canterbury for years to come.
“You Can’t Rush an Earthquake” is written by Brenda Greene, owner of a character home that was close to the epicentre of the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit Christchurch and those that continued to cause damage for months on end. The book documents the owners’ attempts over the next 11 years to have their home rebuilt to the condition that was laid down in their insurance policy. The process became a saga of mistakes, poor planning, rebuilding the rebuild, delays and changing insurance building and council policies.
Throughout those years the Author, with her learned knowledge and a desire to have her home restored, dealt with at least 7 project managers, builders, electricians, plumbers, building inspectors. loss adjusters, quantity surveyors, architects, insurance companies and the Insurance Ombudsman to mention just a few, as she fought to have her policy rights enforced. The meetings were documented, as were the phone calls, reports, and photographs.
Eventually the home repairs the Author and her family were entitled to were completed – but after what a journey! The reader will find it would give a lesser person a headache, equivalent to the original earthquake, to embark on such a rebuild, and to win.
The book describes in detail the effect of being in an earthquake of such magnitude as the later major shake on 22nd February 2011, and those following. She describes the seismic boom, the bulging floors, the feeling of floating and falling, being tossed from one wall to another and the physical effects to her body as she processes her reaction to what was happening. These were so descriptive I felt I was in the kitchen with her.
Throughout the narrative there are respites from the earthquake damage as she describes family events, trips away to the solitude and calmness of national parks as she and her family documented the returning birdlife after trapping pests. These sojourns were a welcome time of rest and recovery.
The book with its many photographs is a tribute to the tenacity of the author and to the thousands of displaced, broken and traumatised people of Christchurch.
It is a great read.
Author: Brenda Greene
Publisher: Brenda Greene
Available: Scorpio Books 120 Hereford St, Christchurch 8011
Writers Plot Readers Read, 893 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt 5018