Editorial: We all pray for shaking to stop

By Dylan Thorne

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I can only imagine how terrifying the swarm of earthquakes that struck Wellington must have been for the city's residents.

The biggest jolt - of magnitude 6.5 and centred in Seddon, 25km from Blenheim - rattled Wellington just after 5pm, causing damage around the capital.

It was felt as far away as Auckland and Canterbury.

Terrified residents ran for cover during the long shake which - at a depth of just 11km - blew out windows , cracked concrete and caused buildings to sway.

In the aftermath we spoke to a number of former Western Bay residents who now call Wellington home.

Julie Taylor, who grew up in Tauranga and has been living in Newton for the past eight years, said it was the worst earthquake she had ever felt.

Luckily the human toll was minimal - with only four people reportedly sustaining minor injuries.

The swarm of earthquakes comes just a few short years after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Christchurch that sparked a seismic sequence that changed the city irreparably.

The previously unknown Greendale Fault beneath the Canterbury Plains which jolted sleeping Cantabrians resulted in a zero death toll - largely attributed to the time of day it struck - and many residents thought they had escaped unscathed.

The region kept on shaking, and the shallower 6.3-magnitude quake of February 22 2011 claimed 185 lives.

Hundreds of buildings in that city have been demolished, billions of dollars in insurance and Government cash has been paid to owners of quake-damaged houses and businesses.

The ongoing impact of these quakes has been widespread.

House insurance bills have more than doubled for some home owners under sweeping changes imposed after the Christchurch earthquakes.

The scale of the changes has come as a shock to many families, who are already stretched by rises in charges for contents and car insurance, electricity, rates and water.

Let's hope there are no more large earthquakes in the near future - for all our sakes.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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