Quake updates - Monday

Television crews were there filming as Super Value Seddon employee Sheryll Kamat and owner Marie Flowerday cleaned up the mess
Television crews were there filming as Super Value Seddon employee Sheryll Kamat and owner Marie Flowerday cleaned up the mess

A Blenheim building with similarities to Christchurch's doomed CTV building, is understood to have been evacuated as engineers assess its safety.

Staff from the Marlborough Primary Health Organisation (PHO), Community Law Marlborough and Classic Hits were reportedly asked to leave Porse House by engineers.

Porse House in Blenheim has similarities to Christchurch's CTV building and is understood to have been evacuated this morning
Porse House in Blenheim has similarities to Christchurch's CTV building and is understood to have been evacuated this morning

Some remained in their offices this morning, but opted to leave after the a 5.2 quake rattled the town just about 10.47am.

Porse House has similarities to Christchurch's CTV building and an assessment of its structure was ordered in February by owners T H Barnes.

The buildings had the same designer, but not the same engineer.

The CTV Building collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake, costing 115 people their lives. 

Classic Hits breakfast presenter Scott Radovanovich said he had chosen to stay in his studio, along with a reporter up from Christchurch, in order to continue to broadcast updates.''That shake at about 10.47am made us get out though,'' said Mr Radovanovich.

''It was pretty intense. The building was moving and the lights were swaying about six to eight inches [15cm - 20cm] from side to side. There was also a lot of creaking -- it was pretty unpleasant.''

PHO boss Beth Tester said that she had told staff to stay and work from home today.

She did go into their offices this morning but also left at before 11am, shortly after the 5.2 magnitude quake, located 15km east of Seddon.

''I had a few things to do at the office but that last one made me decide to leave,'' Mrs Tester said.

Community Law manager Raewyn Tretheway said its offices were closed too.

Mrs Tester recalled the 5.7 magnitude quake on Friday as ''quite significant'', scaring staff and prompting a debrief.

''We just took half an hour or so do a debrief and have a cup of tea, then we were back to work,'' she said.

T H Barnes chief executive John Smithies was not available for immediate comment.


Seddon Super Value building owner Marie Flowerday said this morning that there was superficial cracking but there appeared to be no major damage.

Building engineers Smart Alliances, who designed it in 2006, were checking it was structurally safe.

Television crews were there filming, as staff and volunteers helped to clean up the mess.

The supermarket reopened at 12.30pm.


Blenheim people are stocking up, says Countdown spokesperson Kate Porter.

The supermarket chain had a good distribution system in place which would cope well, if people did not panic buy.

Batteries and candles were the most popular items and also water, bread and milk.

Springlands School pupil Martha Cooke, 10, said her family was stocking up on food and water in case there was a big quake.

They had also pulled out a table so it was easy to get under.

Her brother Archie, 5, said he would get in the turtle position if a big one hit.

The family also had a battery operated radio, non-electric phone and food stored.'


Marlborough Civil Defence has warned residents to to expect more aftershocks and to follow the drop, cover, hold procedures when they struck.

People were advised to check their emergency management plans.

People whose homes were damaged were advised to phone EQC (0800 326 243), but if they felt their houses were a risk to life or unhealthy, such as contaminated with swereage, they should contact the council.

A welfare centre operating out of the Awatere Rugby Club in Seddon, was now closed after the homes of about 14 people were checked by Marlborough District Council Building inspectors and declared safe. 

Rail lines were being checked at Blenheim. A freight train is being held at Seddon until noon.

Picton port and Marlborough airport are both open, but travellers should check their airlines for delays.

All power was expected to be restored by 10am, Civil Defence said.

Marlborough District Council Building inspectors were checking CBD building.

Marlborough Lines advised it would restore electricity to all customers in Seddon this morning.

Contracting manager Steve McLauchlan who is directing operations in Seddon said half of the 76 people with no power in Seddon at 8.30 this morning would be reconnected.

Loss of supply was mostly caused by low voltage conductors breaking when poles moved with the earthquake and sometimes wires being torn from barge boards.

''It's all under control from our point of view,'' Managing director Ken Forrest said.

At the peak, 2020 customers from Tuamarina north of Blenheim to Waipapa south of Ward were without electricity.

Marlborough Lines staff restored supply to the majority by 8pm last night, Forrest said. '


After moving to Marlborough to escape the Christchurch earthquake, James and Rona Harris said they are now fleeing to South Canterbury.

Rona Harris has a pacemaker and was was terrified by the quakes, her husband told the Marlborough Express. 

She had not slept since the first one on Friday morning.

Mr Harris was on the phone to a friend in Geraldine, when the biggest shake hit yesterday evening.

Also a Christchurch refugee, she rang them back to urge them to move to Geraldine. They were to leave this morning.

The couple had two houses destroyed by Christchurch quakes in September 2010 then February 2011, Mr Harris said.


Passengers on the Cook Strait Interislander ferry, which was crossing a point near the quake epicentre just after 5pm yesterday, were alarmed by the shaking felt on the vessel.

Richard Osmaston, of St Arnaud in the Nelson region, who was travelling towards Picton on the ferry, said a noticeable vibration was felt.An Interislander spokeswoman said the Arahura captain thought at first he had hit something.

''Everyone went quiet, then the captain came on the public announcement system and suggested it was a quake, which he confirmed a few minutes later,'' Osmaston said.

The Aratere ferry, which was tied up alongside the wharf in Wellington, also was aware of the shake.

''We certainly felt it on the ship. It was a big rumble, but it didn't do any damage.

''We could see the lights on the motorway flicking back and forward, other than than it was just a rumble but we definitely knew it was a quake.'' 


Share your earthquake exprerience, photos and video with us.  Leave a comment below, phone 03 5208927 or news@marlexpress.co.nz

The Marlborough Express