Hororata businesses find life tough after earthquake video

DAVID WALKER/The Press

The small Canterbury town of Hororata suffered extensive damage from the September 4th earthquake in 2010. Five years on some residents share their memories.

Five years, with no real sign of progress, Hororata Motors owner Margaret Ellis is calling it quits.

Ellis is one of many Canterbury business owners to feel the financial impact of the September 4, 2010, earthquake.

Things have been tough for her business since the earthquakes. Add on several break-ins and Ellis says it is time to end her 13-year stint at the garage.

Hororata Motors owner Margaret Ellis has put her shop on the market due to a lack of business post-quake.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Hororata Motors owner Margaret Ellis has put her shop on the market due to a lack of business post-quake.

"There hasn't actually been much progress in Hororata, nothing has really changed - the church is still damaged, the hotel is never going to be a hotel again, our little garage is going to close and our shop is on the market."

Ellis plans to stay in the district to continue renovating the old Hororata Pub, which she and her partner bought not long after the quake.

Hororata Community Trust chairman Richard Lang said Ellis was not alone in her frustration.

Hororata resident Kate Foster (left) and Reverend Jenni Carter, the Vicar of St. John's Anglican church in Hororata.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Hororata resident Kate Foster (left) and Reverend Jenni Carter, the Vicar of St. John's Anglican church in Hororata.

"If you told us five years ago that in five years you wouldn't be that much further ahead, people would be surprised."

The trust was set up not long after the earthquake with an eye to rebuilding a badly-damaged community.

"The focus was literally on rebuilding places and structures that were damaged by the earthquake, it was about how do we fix things that have been broken," said Lang.

St. John's Anglican church at Hororata suffered extensive damage from the September 4th earthquake in 2010.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

St. John's Anglican church at Hororata suffered extensive damage from the September 4th earthquake in 2010.

"I think as time has gone on the trust has been a vehicle for the community coming closer together."

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The Hororata Highland Games are perhaps the greatest example of the trust's work in the community in the past five years, helping raise money for local groups and putting the town back on the map.

Lang said the community's main concerns related to several buildings that it wanted rebuilt, including the Hororata Hall and St John's Anglican Church.

"There is a level of frustration in the community surrounding the politics that are delaying these projects moving forward."

The tower of the Anglican Church collapsed through the roof, with local worshippers now using an older, smaller wooden church nearby.

Reverend Jenni Carter, the vicar of the Anglican Church,  remembers seeing the church for the first time after the earthquake

"I went outside and gradually saw one thing after another - 'oh sh.. the tower's gone, oh God the graves are a bit strange'.

"You were in a state of shock so you didn't register, I didn't realise how bad it was."

She said the church would be rebuilt in time.

"You have this tremendous energy to do something and to rebuild but it takes years and you know that in the back of your mind but you just do what you can do and keep working."

Carter said she understood why some people might be frustrated by the lack of progress.

"I guess for some people who want instant fixes that's a frustration."

Hororata resident Kate Foster said the community was "amazingly resilient".

"We have had snowstorms, we had droughts in the 80s, there is so many things that go on in rural communities that I think the people are pretty resilient, you just adapt and get on with it."

Selwyn District Council earthquake recovery manager Douglas Marshall said the majority of earthquake repairs to the council's infrastructure were complete, with a repair bill of about $12 million.

The main damage was to community centres and halls, cemeteries, roading, water and wastewater systems. All but one of the earthquake-damaged roads were repaired by June 2011, with repair work to quake damaged water and wastewater systems completed by the end of 2010.

 - Stuff

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