Gisborne earthquake

Last night – 6.8 – that’s pretty big. Mum phoned to check we were alright as it was felt up and down the east side of NZ. They’re not that far from Gisborne and reported it was the worst they’ve felt in years and almost comparable to the Edgecumbe earthquake in 1987 – I was in Rotorua at the time and it was pretty bad.

Gisborne was pretty shaken up last night – this picture from

It got me thinking about what I remember from the Edgecumbe quake. I was at high school.

  • I was in a biology class, rows of 2-by-2 old style desks – those wooden ones with lift up lids and a hole where the ink pot used to go.
  • We all hid under the desks – back then there was no triangle-of-life confusion. It was just get under something!
  • The fences around the tennis court outside our class room were warping like crazy!
  • Our wobbly old biology teacher just stood there swaying (as was her natural state) wondering what all the screaming was about.
  • The water in the axolotl tank at the back of the class room was sloshing out over the sides, and I was petrified of those walking carnivorous fish, so I confess, it was me that started the scream fest!
  • We had to evacuate the school.
  • I couldn’t ring my parents who lived 1.5 hours away because all the phones were down.
  • The pictures in the newspaper and on TV of cracks in the land around Edgecumbe where the fault line had opened up were really alarming.
  • I saw on the TV news that the 2 main bridges into Whakatane (where I needed to go through to get home to mum and dad) were cracked or fallen off the river bank so were impassable and I couldn’t get home for 3 or 4 days.  Amazingly enough a bridge out in the sticks, made of sticks and tied together with twine built way back when was the only one unharmed. It just creaked and swayed but didn’t break.
  • Cars that were angle-parked outside the shops in Edgecumbe were bumped up onto the footpath and into shop windows.
  • I made a scrap book. I must dig it out!

I found this old archive of pictures on the local radio station website. I remember seeing all of these at the time! Yikes 80’s fashion was bad.


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