Women tell quake stories

16:00, Dec 07 2012
Rebecca Gordon, with her daughter, Natasha, 11
FAMILY FIRST: Rebecca Gordon, with her daughter, Natasha, 11. When the February 11 quake struck last year she ran to her children’s school.

Cantabrian Rebecca Gordon ran to her children's school without a second thought on February 22, 2011.

She was one of more than 100 females interviewed for a project that aims to tell the stories of women of different ages, backgrounds and life experiences in various areas of Canterbury during and since the earthquakes.

The project, funded mainly by the Christchurch City Council, was organised by the Christchurch branch of the National Council of Women.

Gordon, a solo mother of three who lives in Wainoni, had worked a 12-hour night shift on February 21 so was catching up on sleep when the magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck.

She immediately rushed to her children's school where she was confronted by hundreds of children "crying and screaming".

During the next couple of weeks, Gordon had no power and sewage.


She said the earthquakes forced her to think quickly, learn new skills and become more versatile to keep her family together.

Although Gordon's house was fine, she used the enforced time off work to clean it up and comfort her children.

"The earthquakes have been easy to deal with. It's the aftermath, the hassle of the insurance companies . . . who would've thought that it would take so long?"

NCW president Judith Sutherland said every woman had a unique story to tell, especially as many dealt with continuing emotional and financial stress, fear and broken homes after the quake.

She said many males were portrayed as heroes after the quake, while women worked in the background.

The project documented women's contributions in workplaces, voluntary organisations and their communities.

The stories have been uploaded on to the University of Canterbury's Ceismic website for the public to read.

Sutherland hoped to get funding for additional interviews and to produce a book.

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The Press