Honour and hope

March 1, 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English spoke at the Wellington vigil for the Christhcurcfh earthquake victims this afternoon:

Today we will honour, by our silence, those who died in the Christchurch earthquake.

And in those quiet moments we can contemplate what fear or courage, what horror or hope filled their last moments.

People who began their day, just one week ago, the same way as we began our day today.

Their conversations and their laughter were savagely stopped and their homes and workplaces are ruined and quiet.

Today we stand in silence with those who watched them go, the families, friends, workmates and strangers who reached for them, tried their utmost to protect them and comforted them, even when their own lives were in danger.

And the end of our silence will be the beginning of hope.

Hope that we can stitch up the ragged edges of broken hearts and broken homes and rebuild.

Hope that the memory of those who have died will be the foundations of a renewed city and renewed communities.

We hope we can heal the doubts of all who have suffered from this devastation, that their homes and workplaces can once again be safe and sustaining.

So as this silence brings us together, may it also remind us of the truth that this suffering and loss, has taught us – our loved ones matter more and our daily anxieties matter less.

May the living have Hope. May those who have died Rest in Peace.

Word of the day

March 1, 2011

Hiraeth – homesickness;  the sense of loss that comes from having been separated from one’s home; missing the feeling of being home, of having a place; longing or nostalgia especially for Wales and things Welsh.

Quake communication by social media and memoirs

March 1, 2011

Discussion of on-line matters with Jim Mora on Critical Mass started with how on-line media complemented the MSM in coverage of the Christchurch earthquake.

Facebook, Twitter and blogs helped people connect with family and friends and also mobilise volunteers and equipment to help with recovery effort.

Among the many blog posts was one in which Brian Edwards and  Judy Callingham wrote of how Twitter brought us news that our family in Christchurch was safe.

Another which caught my eye was Not PC, who wrote of the tragedy and included descriptions of what happened to the buildings.

Many bloggers in Christchurch didn’t have power or internet connections at first but started posting when they could and their accounts provide a powerful human record of the quake and its aftermath.

It might be just as well they didn’t read the problem with memoirs first. In this column Neil Genzlinger, a staff editor at the New York Times writes disparagingly on memoirs written by people with nothing much to say.

One of those whose memoir he disparages, Sean Manning, responded in the Daily Beast.

Reflecting in silence

March 1, 2011

At 12:51 New Zealanders are being asked to observe two minute’s silence for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key said:

“This may be New Zealand’s single most tragic event.

“I am calling on all New Zealanders to stop and remember those who have lost their lives, those who are missing, and the hundreds of people who are mourning family and friends.”

The quake struck on Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 12.51pm.

“At 12.51pm this Tuesday, the 1st of March, I am asking that New Zealand stops for two minutes as a sign of unity for the people of Canterbury who are enduring a tragedy beyond what most of us can imagine.

“Canterbury will recover and we will do all we can to ensure it does.

“For now we must do all we can to show its people that all of New Zealand grieves with them.”

The tragedy has touched all corners of the country.

This will be an opportunity to remember and reflect.

The rescue and recovery effort will continue. It will need all of us to help in whatever way we can. 

Ater the observation of silence one way we can do that is by carrying on as normal, even though normal will never be what it was before the quake struck at 12:51 on Tuesday February 22.

Ferrier leaving Fonterra

March 1, 2011

Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier is leaving the company later this year.

Mr Ferrier said that, with Fonterra in good shape, it provided the right opportunity for the transition. He said that he intended to continue living in New Zealand after he left Fonterra, but wanted the flexibility to spend a little more time with family, including in his homeland Canada.

“I have always thought that a successful CEO should build a culture and capability in an organisation, to ensure that it continues to improve when you move on,” Mr Ferrier said. “Fonterra is a great co-operative and, when I leave, I will have absolute confidence in it becoming even stronger in the future.

“I have had 17 years as a CEO, including eight years at Fonterra, and I am looking forward to more flexibility in my life, spending more time with my family, and choosing from a number of business interests that are available to me.”

The low point for Fonterra under his tenure was the Sanlu contaminated milk powder tragedy.

There have been many high points, including  growth in international markets, development of new products and record payouts to shareholders.

Buildings old and new

March 1, 2011

Christchurch had some beautiful old buildings but, as Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said, some of those old buildings killed people.

On Breakfast this morning he said it might be possible to restore some of the historic buildings.

But it won’t be possible to restore them all and nor should anyone try – the rebuild will be faster and the city safer if some are razed and cleared.

New buildings are safer. We have not just building codes to thank for that but the fact that people who design and build our buildings, comply with them.

As Gerry also said:”You set codes, you build to codes and people stay safe.”

There are other parts of the world which have codes which aren’t applied or complied with.

Make today a Red and Black day

March 1, 2011

Last Tuesday was a black day, an email arrived last night suggesting we make this Tuesday (today) a Red and Black day.

I have an idea…. lets all wear red and black (Canterbury sporting colours) next Tuesday 1 March – a week after the terrible and fatal earthquake, to show our heart-felt support for Christchurch people and to give Cantabrians the message that “we love you, we feel your pain and we are all with you”.

Imagine walking down the street and seeing red and black everywhere – New Zealanders showing support and solidarity for fellow New Zealanders.

Imagine being a visitor to NZ and experiencing this country-wide expression of support.

Imagine being a Cantabrian and seeing and feeling this big wave of kiwi support. 

Get out your red and black clothes, scarves, hats, bags and shoes next Tuesday 1 March and show you care for Christchurch

Share this with your family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours  

Let’s show Christchurch that we care for them and are thinking of them now.

(Ribbon borrowed from Scrubone at Something Should Go Here Maybe Later).

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