Quake damage unites rural community
Hororata vicar says town rallyingOLIVIA CARVILLE
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
The September earthquake tore through Hororata with fury, but Anglican vicar Jenni Carter says its aftermath was positive for the rural Canterbury community.
"We have lost things, we have had things broken and destroyed, but the essence of who we are has actually strengthened," she told The Press in the fourth video of the One Year On series.
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"The way the community relates to each other has changed. The divisions don't seem to matter the same."
Hororata, about 60 kilometres west of Christchurch, was one of the most badly damaged areas in the September 4 magnitude-7.1 quake.
The spire of the historic St John's Anglican Church crumbled and the local pub, community hall, town cafe and many homes suffered extensive damage. However, there was no doubt in the community the town would get back on its feet.
The positive attitude stemmed from the rural life.
"Life goes on for the farmer, and that's the difference. Most of our jobs haven't shifted; day-to-day activities haven't changed," Carter said.
"You still get up in the morning and the sheep need to be fed and the cows need to be milked and you just get on with living."
The glaring difference between the aftermath of the September quake in Hororata and the February quake in Christchurch was the visual destruction, she said.
"The destruction is gone ... whereas in Christchurch you have still got rubble on the streets. You have still got broken buildings," she said. "We have got tarpaulins over roofs and things, but it is not the same."
Carter lives opposite the church and said it was heartbreaking to see it in ruins every morning, but "something tangible changed" when it was weatherproofed and sealed.
Exciting ideas for the rebuild had been floating around the community and Carter said it was time to embrace the new possibilities.
Churchgoer and long-term member of the community Tish Ballagh said the quake changed the Hororata people more than the buildings.
"I think people have changed and the way we deal with the community has changed a great deal since the earthquake," she said.
"It has, for the first time in a long time, brought the community together."
Despite the damage in Hororata, she said, Christchurch was the town's "centre" and the community focus shifted to the broken city after February 22.
Many Hororata people travelled to Christchurch to shovel silt and offer support after the February quake.
"I actually think we are probably grieving more for Christchurch, us country people, than we are for our own community."
Hororata had moved on from the September quake and the town had turned towards the rebuild.
"I think Hororata is on the mend.
"A lot of people have left following the quake, but with community support, I think Hororata will survive twice as good as it was before."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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