Editorial: Pride unshaken in quake

By Mark Story


I'm not too proud to admit Monday's earthquake got the adrenaline pumping.

But what I was too proud to do was get under the table at Mister D restaurant, where I'd taken my wife and 4-year-old daughter for a late breakfast.

Following the 4.9 magnitude shake at 9.58am, the establishment's staff went about their business with professionalism - their faces bearing that reassuring smile air stewards sport after a bout of turbulence.

Customers continued to eat their poached eggs.

I gave my daughter a hug to reassure her, only to realise she hadn't noticed a thing. Amazing how all-consuming a cinnamon doughnut can be.

Her innocence stood in contrast to my failure to take any safety measures at all.

I checked the cafe's ceiling. The massive exposed steel trusses looked modern.

I felt relatively safe. From our window table I glanced across the road to the brick splendour of the two-storey Bowman building on the corner of Tennyson and Market streets. Like most of Napier's re-built CBD, it boasted an inception date in the early 30s - in this case 1933. I can only assume the building rose from rubble 80 years ago.

It was my first shake in Napier. I realised, for obvious reasons, quakes resonate more in the Art Deco City.

From 31 kilometres below, Monday's jolt became one of those "where were you when" moments.

That night my school-aged children spoke of how everyone in their classes shot under desks. It had me guessing what percentage of the province decided to duck for shelter. That is, how many of us, like me, would rather risk death-by-crush than be the only one at a bistro to lose face.

Quite amazing, really, given the 258 who died in this province in 1931, just how reluctant we are to flinch.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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