Seddon residents 'still affected' a year on

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 12:22 18/08/2014
The Reverend Dawn Daunauda
Scott Hammond

REV DAWN DAUNAUDA: "When there is even a small tremor people freeze."

Greg Hammond and son Rupert Hammond, 5.
Derek Flynn
FAMILY FUN: Greg Hammond and son Rupert Hammond, 5, at Event 365.

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Seddon locals are still hurting a year after two massive quakes shook their homes and businesses.

On August 16, 2013, a magnitude 6.6 quake struck the region still reeling from a 6.5 quake in the area on July 21.

A year on, Rev Dawn Daunauda said many residents were still working through the experience. "There is resilience but not without trauma. When there is even a small tremor people freeze," she said.

Seddon resident of 68 years James Jermyn, who moved to Blenheim about a year before the quakes but still has family in the area, said residents put up a brave face, but the hurt was still there.

"People are still affected mentally and physically. It's important to have things like this to talk about it," he said.

Many are still rebuilding, with more than 800 claims for damages yet to be settled.

According to the latest information from the Earthquake Commission, 3245 claims in Marlborough have been dealt with and 859 await resolution.  More than $18.6 million in claims has been paid out so far by EQC.

Seddon resident and volunteer fire fighter Phil Noakes had vivid memories of the quakes.

"After the July one my wife and I talked about what we would do if there was another. We put a plan in place for her to go to her sister's place because I would be involved with helping out, and it worked well," Noakes said.

The day of the August quake was his day off, but there would be no rest for the emergency services, and he didn't get to see his wife until late that night.

Having a day to celebrate the community getting through the ordeal was a good idea, he said.

"There are still a lot of people who are affected. We have had some small shakes since then and it really gets your adrenaline going," Noakes said.

On Saturday, the Event 365 family fun day marked a day of remembrance for the Awatere community.

The sirens also marked the end of the Event 365 family fun day held to remember the quake, which tested the Awatere community to its limit.

A warm winter's day of family time, food and and entertainment saw children playing games just a stone's throw from the field many of them were on when the August quake struck.

Awatere Community Centre co-ordinator Marie Flowerday said the event was a joint initiative by the groups involved in the area during the quakes, and was organised for awareness and celebration.

"It's been a good day and we've had a good number of people from the community through," she said.

Various agencies who were involved after both the July and August quakes, such as Red Cross, the Seddon volunteer fire brigade, police and Civil Defence were there. They raised awareness around being ready in case of an emergency and gave demonstrations.

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- The Marlborough Express

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