Still Here – The Kaiapoi Portrait Project

Still Here

All Right? was very proud to support the latest work from Canterbury photographer, filmmaker and radio producer, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes.

Over the past few months Cosmo has been surveying the red zoned, earthquake damaged areas of Kaiapoi. This has motivated him to produce a series of photographs of exiled residents in front of their red stickered homes, or the empty sites where their houses once stood.

The juxtaposition of the residents, in front of their damaged properties, aims to communicate a sense of family unity against the odds, in this case the earthquakes. He was inspired by the formal approach 19th century New Zealand photographers where many family portraits also emphasised the importance of family unity rising above the hardships of the day.

The participants in this exhibition represent a cross section of a community who lost their homes, but not their spirits. Each portrait is accompanied by a first person account of life since the first earthquake struck.

Arline Grimshaw

56 Courtenay Drive was to be my last home to enjoy my twilight years. Loving the location in Kaiapoi this new home was a blank canvas when I moved in 14 years ago, so I planted and established the grounds and created gardens full of color that I could enjoy after all the hard work was done.

Then the September Earthquake came along and broke my lovely home, damaging my land and destroying my gardens, meaning I had to start all over again. The stress of dealing with all the companies to enable me to have a new home went on for two years and I finally shifted into a house in the Sovereign Palms subdivision on the 14th September 2012.

I had to start all over again forming gardens, landscaping grounds and I achieved 3rd place in January 2013 and 1st place in January 2014 in the Kaiapoi Garden Competition for houses under 3 years old. Now I can finally sit back and once again enjoy my new home and garden.

Barbara Townsend and Jackson

Three months before the earthquake I’d had a transplant and after the earthquake Jackson and I continued to live in my house on Charles Street with no water or electricity, surrounded by Portaloos and with trucks and machines constantly working over the road. After some time I found a place to live in Amberley, but Jackson was unable to come so he went to stay with my daughter in the TC3* zone in Kaiapoi.

Jackson and I could see each other only once every week or so. It was heart breaking to have to leave him and he never understood why. He missed the house, the walks along the river and Albie, his old friend next door. After about two years I was able to buy a house which I now share with other family members while they still wait to get their new house. The neighbourhood was our family and we loved being there, life isn’t the same.

*TC3 is moderate to significant land damage from liquefaction is possible in future large earthquakes

Bev and Fred Evans

Our old house in Pines Beach was red stickered after the first earthquake, so we moved into rental property in Kaiapoi where we stayed for twenty months. We built a new house in Oxford and moved in May 2012. We are now settled and enjoying community life.

Bob and Judy Hawker

That noise? A plane No, a train No, and then bang, the house and everything shook and shook, tossed Bob about like a rag doll. He yelled to get out of bed and grabbed the door frame but I lay still, ready to pull the pillow over my head.

That noise changed our lives forever. There was an estimated $14,000 damage to our house, but eventually the whole block was red zoned and by then there were no local houses left to buy. Material things don’t mean the same to us now. Amberley is our new home, a big move after over 50 years in Kaiapoi.

Bob and Joan Cattermole - RIP

82-year-old Bob and his sister, 84-year-old Joan died at their Sewell Street home in December 2010. They had been there for more than 30 years and had lived together all their lives. Their sudden deaths may have been connected to post-quake stress and the fears they held for their home.

The Cattermoles' house was graded C by the Earthquake Commission indicating that it would probably have to be demolished.

Chantal, Nigel, Ashleigh and Kadyn Palmer

During the September 2010 earthquake the house moved so much that my husband was unable to walk through the doorway and it knocked him out trying to reach our children. In the daylight we saw liquefaction everywhere and instantly knew what it was, but our house was still standing and safe to occupy even with wobbly walls, cracks in the floor and a bit of a lean. It wasn’t until later that we realised Kaiapoi had been badly hit and our area in particular.

The earthquakes were scary enough, but the hardest part was yet to come; dealing with insurance companies and EQC caused far more stress than the actual earthquakes. The government announcement of Red Zoning was a huge relief, but the stress caused by EQC and insurance only escalated. Finally 2 weeks before the government offer expired we got a joint review only to have our settlement offer slashed and no time to dispute it. We felt there was no choice now but to stop fighting and move on. A big decision had to be made. Do we move to Tauranga, Melbourne or Rangiora?

We were extremely lucky to have a friend help us build again without having to involve the insurance company and now we live in wonderful new neighbourhood in Rangiora. Ultimately trying to salvage some stability for my children won out and they are lucky enough to still be surrounded by family, friends and attend the same school.

Chris Paterson and Helen Swain

We moved to Sewell Street in June 1994. Our son Luis was two the day after moving in and our daughter Georgina arrived in October that year. It was a lovely family home with a big backyard, bordered with tall poplar trees. This unique house was originally built in 1865 for the minister of the St Paul's Presbyterian Church.
Over the 18 years we lived there, many improvement projects were completed. We especially enjoyed the verandah built by our neighbour, Brian Morris.

That night in September 2010 was terrifying in a two storey house. It was a daunting prospect to venture downstairs. The house survived remarkably well but the land, so close to the river, eventually determined the outcome for our home and our future.

We luckily had a rebuild option, so were able to build a new home in Sovereign Palms. We chose a new plan, nothing like Sewell Street. We felt it would be too difficult to replicate the old house and more positive to start anew.

It has been sad and stressful to see our old home deteriorate. Our cat has gone back over 20 times, so on returning we have felt like caretakers checking the property. We have so many happy memories. It is great to know that the house will be relocated and restored, to be enjoyed again!

Dee, Marc, Nicole and Thomas Brocherie

We woke up to a long slow rumbling and rolling then feeling absolute fear at the sudden violent continuous shaking. The screeching sound of concrete and weatherboard grinding together, complete darkness, the sound of things falling and breaking, the screaming, trying to reach the kids' bedrooms and being thrown side to side down the hallway, stepping into knee deep of what we thought was rushing water and the panic as we realised everyone was leaving Pines Beach and not really knowing why.

We headed to Marc's parents' house in town. Although we passed a car that had sunk into a big crack in the road we had not realised the extent of the damage until we returned the next morning, at which point our emotions got the better of us.

Over the next few months we lost count of the number of engineers, specialists and experts that came in and out of our broken home. We were told that the house was so extensively damaged, to pick it up to repair it would just make it fall apart. The unofficial word was it was going to be a rebuild so we searched online for plans for a new home, then we were Red Zoned and that was the end of that!

We were "lucky enough" to stay in our own home whilst we looked for another property. At first we wanted to stay at Pines Beach but it felt as if we were competing with our friends and neighbours for the same homes and it became too stressful. Eventually, although it wasn't the lifestyle we thought we wanted, we decided to look at the new subdivisions.

We now live in Silverstream Estates, Kaiapoi in a new build. Dare we say it, but in a funny way it has worked out well as we are still a part of the Kaiapoi community which is very important to us and have really lovely neighbours, who have been through the same experiences as we have.

Derek and Claire Woodward

Our home was destroyed in the first earthquake in September 2010; my wife did not understand what was happening during the quake and subsequently felt very insecure until I convinced her it had done what was required of it to protect us. We had a huge amount of liquefaction and we had fantastic help from neighbours and strangers to clear it.

I have a disability and I soon found the system did not cater well for people with disabilities, such as I could not use the portable toilets. With a lot of temporary repair we were able to spend the next two and a half years there until our new home at Pegasus was built. We had lots of help to make it more bearable such as food parcels and help with power bills, as it was very cold and damp. Our insurance company and builder were magnificent in expediting us into our new home.

Fay, Glen and Max Happer

This was our dream location; fishing and whitebaiting at our doorstep, neighbours leaning on the fence for a chat, advice, or to borrow a tool or two. Children playing in the cul de sac, or running up the stop bank to wave at the people on the Tuhoe as it sailed by. Dearly miss friends and neighbours. Dearly miss children playing together. Dearly miss our little community.

Gillian Rayner and her father Harry Stanton

On the morning of September 4th 2010 there was a sudden jolt, the noise was loud and then the house shook. I leapt out of bed and went to my 90 year old dad’s bedroom, he was also wide awake. We stood in the hallway, neither of us thought of getting into a doorway or under a table. It was pitch black. Opening the door to step outside I went into six inches of thick slush. I looked with the torch and the drive was a river of dirty foamy water. It was a good job our house had high foundations.

Daylight arrived and the neighbours met in the road to make sure we were all okay. No power, water or phone. The sewer pipes were ruptured. The worst was not being able to contact family. That night we stayed with friends who lived near Rangiora, from here I could make contact with my brother in Marlborough and we arranged for Dad to go there. I returned home each day to clean up with my son Geoff and two teams of PD guys who were terrific.

During this time the Civil Defence provided water, food parcels, advice and hot meals. By Christmas Dd was home and on February 22nd 2011 it started all over again. Help to clear the property came by way of students this time. My wheelbarrow went with them round the area, returning home four weeks later.

On June 13th I was standing outside with a guy from Fletcher Construction when there was a roar and then the ground just took off along with our cars. We watched the house go berserk. Sadly it was time to move out. We were fortunate to get a lovely home to rent and moved in at the end of June.

I’d already had a meeting with my insurers after being paid out by EQC with regard to a rebuild, then the government Red Zoned our whole area. This was devastating; to lose my home of 30 years was bad enough, but then to learn I would also lose my section and lovely garden. I shed a lot of quiet tears.

Over the next couple of months I went back to my home and dug up my garden, split and potted plants, small shrubs, roses, fuchsias and garden structures. Everything that could be moved was taken out, over 200 pots and large bags.

When I bought the place I am in now there was no garden to speak of and the plants that came with me are all doing well in their new ‘beds’. I didn’t see my old house come down but I still go and look at my section and the trees that were spared.

My Journey was one I would not like to repeat, however, I was fortunate to have wonderful family and friends and a great neighbour to help me.Dad is still with me, he will be 94 this month and he prefers not to remember. My sister and her husband are among those still waiting – repair or rebuild? My heart goes out to those who are struggling to get their lives back on track.

Gretta and Brian Morris

We used to live at 9A Jones Street until the earthquakes. The house suffered no damage as we had employed an engineer to design a suitable foundation which worked. The seven year old house of 5 bedrooms with provision for garaging our motorhome was red zoned.

We bought a section at 27 Meadow Street and were to build a new home. A smaller house became available at 42A Sewell Street which was 15 years old. We purchased and then sold the section in Meadow Street. It was a bit of a shock to the system but all’s well that ends well I suppose.

Jenny and Pat Barker

When we moved to Jollie Street, Kaiapoi in January 2003, it was with the idea that it would be the house we could retire in. During the next year or so we did improvements such as painting throughout, installed a heat-pump and replaced an old log-fire with a modern Pellet-fire. We were self-employed at this time, owning a small business in Rangiora.

Seven years later, like hundreds of other people, our life was dramatically shaken into a different perspective. At 4.35am on the 4th September 2010, our area of Kaiapoi was one of the worst affected by what was to be the first of the three major earthquakes that followed. The house suffered fairly extensive damage and due to twisting and movement all three external doors and most windows were jammed shut. As daylight broke the sight of up to half a metre of liquefaction around the house was unbelievable.

Over the next three months we attended public meetings arranged by the Waimakariri District Council with all interested parties present, to hear and see plans for the complete rebuild of the affected area. Our EQC claim had been assessed as over cap and our insurer had agreed to rebuild the house. Then there were the February and June earthquakes in 2011 and it became obvious to us that the area we lived in was going to be ‘red-zoned’.

With the initial exodus from the City, houses that would have been in our price range were snapped up, sometimes the first day on the market and sections were not much better. We had just negotiated and signed up on a section at Oxford when it was announced our area of Kaiapoi had been Red Zoned.

This was supposed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a brand new house of our own planning. However with delay after delay, the next couple of years were more stressful than the tough times immediately after the Earthquake.

We eventually moved into our new house in late November 2012. The next twelve months was spent landscaping the property with plants and scrubs that were potted up and had spent eighteen months waiting to be shifted from our house in Kaiapoi.

We found living in Oxford did not work for us, so we sold up in January 2014 and are now living in North Canterbury. The views from our house are just fantastic, and the weather is much kinder here. It is a very healing environment.

Karen, Clive, Kirstie and Daniel Lingley Richardson

We were woken by the 7.1 that shook our home. Once it stopped we went outside and stood in water that was surrounding the house and the street which was like a river. The house was leaning and looking around the outside of the house we saw cracks in the foundation and the bricks. I went down to my work. It was a wreck. Suddenly I was unemployed.

My best friend invited us to stay with them as they had very minimal damage. Another acquaintance offered to have our dog until we were able to move home again. After a week living with friends and having no work for me or school for the kids, we decided to move back to the house. Civil defence dropped off bottled water and we had many portaloos in our street, so that was how we lived. Life got into a new routine and we got on with it until February 22nd 2011, when the next big one hit. The house leaned more and I couldn't imagine how much more it could take.

After the June 13th earthquake hit us I couldn't be bothered moving all the liquefaction. I wanted out. I didn't want to live here anymore. Every week I phoned the insurance company. I was told we were a rebuild. By the end of August I told them I was running out of patience and wanted something in writing. In the next few days we found out our land had gone red. The very next day we went house hunting and we had a confirmed purchase by the September 4th anniversary. We moved into our new house in October 2011. Our house in Gray Crescent was moved to Oamaru in April 2014.

Kylee, Elmar, Lucien, Alijah and Ebony Vink

September 4th was truly terrifying, totally overwhelming and amazing, amazing in the respect of how could so much devastation be made by that earthquake. There are not enough words to describe all the things I thought, after being rolled around the floor and wedged inside our house by doors and windows that would not open. After crowbarring the front door open all we could see was water and liquefaction. If it was ankle deep on the top step it must have been a metre deep and more out there, we could not move.

Most of the time I had a deep fear that if we had another shake I would get stuck in the house and I would be alone and trapped, or a tsunami might come and that would be it for us and my first baby growing inside me. I can't remember how many times I found myself holding my breath and thinking “when will the next one come?”Every shake would send me running to where I thought would be the safest place in the house.

We were assessed quickly and labelled rebuild, but the process was still long and slowly people around us were leaving their homes and we became some of the last living residents on the street. My fear started to get to me or maybe it was all the hormones from being pregnant now with baby number three.

We built a new house in Rangiora. A replica of our 120 year old house we had in Kaiapoi. I wanted to move and it wasn't happening fast enough. Three years we did it and we managed it while having a baby each year of the rebuild. It was a relief to get out of the house, away from any looming dangers that always seemed to be out to get me. My first night in the new house was the first night in three years that I slept with the light off, it felt so good to simply feel safe and have good ground under my feet.

Lana, Dan, Tori, Rico and Aria McLean

On September 4th we were woken by a noise, a loud deep rumble which was followed by the shaking. It felt like it went for ages. Tori was screaming from her room that she was fine, she was under her desk, she’d learnt this at school.

We weren’t prepared at all. After the shaking finally stopped Dan went to get a torch which was in my work van out in the driveway. I was checking on the kids and totally stressing because Rico’s room was upside down and I couldn’t find him. He had stayed at Grandma and Granddad’s… Dan came back yelling about the stuff rising from the ground. We’d never seen anything like it. First we thought it was the sewer pipes and then maybe it was from the river across the reserve, anyway we thought it was time to get out.

Our neighbours came to us and we all sat together until the sun came up so we could then assess the situation. Nobody had a clue what the best plan was. Our home and yard had split in two. Our neighbours were all in similar situations. The road had opened up right in front of us and trapped a car.

Within two hours local construction companies and hire businesses had started doing what needed to be done; placing portaloos, filling holes and repairing pipes. That was what we found to be the most emotional part of that first 24 hours, how quickly and how well people came to do what they could to help.

We left our home that day, only to return to collect our belongings. We spent three weeks with Dan’s mum and dad then moved into a friend’s rental in Pines Beach. After a while we moved to a less damaged area in Kaiapoi which then also became red zoned.

We had early confirmation that our house was a write off and already had a re-build figure from our insurer prior to being red zoned, so after that the process was quite simple for us, we were able to sell our house to our insurers and the land to her majesty and find our current home in Tuahiwi on the first anniversary, September 4th 2011.

Lyn and Tyla Carroll

Sam Carroll is absent from this photo.

20 Jollie Street, the place we loved and want to be. I bought the section with my Dad 33 years ago at the age of 17 and sadly he has since passed away. It will soon be completely demolished and with it will go some good memories.

I have a section in the Sovereign Palms subdivision but no house yet. In the meantime I am staying with good friends until my son Sam and daughter Tyla can be back together with me in a new family home.

Mick and Rose Mariner

At the time of the September earthquake we had lived on the corner of a small cul-de-sac in Kaiapoi for 10 years.With about 12 other houses it was a friendly place with nice neighbours. It was a great place to live and not too far away was the Kaiapoi River where we enjoyed many walks.

After the first earthquake we were hopeful that our house would be a rebuild but unfortunately the February earthquake cameand we were red zoned. We brought a small house the same day we were red zoned as we wanted to stay in Kaiapoi. We knew 600 houses were going to go and a lot of people would be looking for a place to live. After spending weeks making it our own we decided it was not for us. We had downsized too early, so on the market it wentand we sold it the same day and brought the house we now live in.

We had two years of hassle but what can you do? You have to just get on with it and we are back enjoying our camper van and happy to still be living in Kaiapoi.

Shirley and Peter Jenkins

Our journey is over, unlike many others. September 4th 2010 changed our lives dramatically, from watching the ground undulating across our backyard to liquefaction erupting in the street.

Peter and I have met some wonderful people having formed the residents group to gather and share information to help everyone through the turbulent times that were to come. Our thoughts are with those that still have to navigate through the insurance minefield.

TeTumu Rolleston, Luana, Ezra and Nico Mataki, Talia and Ky’a Belworthy

Dante, Brooke and Tyson are absent from the photo.

For our whanau September 4th 2010 was a rude awakening for us all across Canterbury. We are a large blended whanau with six kids between us. At the time of the earthquake only myself, Luana and our youngest child, Nico, were at home while the rest of the tribe were staying elsewhere. So we grabbed our baby and drove through the darkened streets full of liquefaction, sewerage and flooding and headed inland to take stock of what was actually happening.

As a result of that first earthquake we couldn't move back into our home, so for the following week we stayed with friends/whanau and eventually settled into a retirement village for 7 months, living in a two bedroom unit. From there we moved into a more suitably sized home, still within Kaiapoi, where we remained until we finally shifted into our new build in 2014 after settling all scores with EQC and our insurance company.

It's been a long time of stress and unknowns with many disruptions to our lives but some enduring friendships have been made along the way as well. We love our community spirit and look forward to a brighter future.

Trish, Keith, Daniel, Róisín and Kelly Evans

Joshua Evans is absent from the the photo.

When the quake hit on September 4th I don’t remember getting to my bedroom door but that is where I rode the quake out.One of my then fourteen year old twins made it from her room to the dining room door.She was very upset because she thought her twin sister wasn’t out of their bedroom.She was torn between going back in to get her sister and obeying her father who was ordering her to stay in the doorway.She shouted repeatedly “I don’t think Kelly is out” and eventually from the darkness came a voice: “I’m out, shut up”.

The sound of the house breaking around us will stay with me forever. When it stopped we were in total darkness and the strong smell of sewage let you know straight away that the damage was big. We immediately grabbed the dog and the emergency kit, leaped in the two vehicles and went to leave in case a tsunami came up the river. Unfortunately the liquefaction was already so deep all around us we could go nowhere.

In the days that followed the quake, the house felt like it was sitting on jelly. The girls and I stayed on a friend’s floor and the two boys and Keith stayed at the house. It was soon obvious that no one could stay there and my friend’s lounge floor got a bit more crowded. We went back to the house each day to pack up as best we could.

My best memories of that time amongst the huge stress was the community spirit. A four wheel drive turned up and pulled our vehicles to higher ground, the smell of sausages on the air was amazing as people turned up to help clean up and feed the locals, bring fresh water and install Portaloos. Hand-delivered updates from the council helped to make you feel like help was at hand.

Even though the house was not ours, we had lived there for many years and seeing our home and the whole neighbourhood destroyed like that was an experience I will be happy to never repeat.

Willy and Andrew Martin

4/9/10, 4.35 am. Thrown out of bed by a 7.1 quake; the noise of smashing, shaking, the fear of not knowing what was going on, what had just occurred and what was going to occur. Our home dropped a metre and went forward a metre in those 45 seconds, an experience you don't get over quickly.

We were one of the first to ring the EQC 0800 Freephone. We were advised to move out immediately which we did, and put everything into storage and rented a flat that we’ve been in for nearly four years. It was quite a roller coaster ride as 40 years of equity was gone. Now what do we do? "Red zoned!"

We now reflect on what was and is and hope we can rebuild a shattered, broken life.Now that the house has been demolished we are a step closer to relocating and moving on, finally we have a future again. We still have each other, our family, our circle of friends and our health. Not much else matters really. Quite simple really, we were the Lucky ones.

KIA KAHA Kaiapoi.