As injured quake survivor Ann Bodkin was pulled from rubble that had entombed her for 26 hours, mayoress Jo Nicholls-Parker was there to comfort her distressed partner.
Nicholls-Parker, wife of mayor Bob, stood with Graham Richardson as they pulled Ann Bodkin from the mangled Pyne Gould Corporation building, touching his shoulder for reassurance.
Towards the end of the 26-hour ordeal as rescuers become achingly close to retrieving Bodkin, an aftershock hit.
"When the last aftershock came as Ann was coming out I yelled out 'Christ no'. Jo's hand touched my shoulder and she said, 'They'll get her out. I know they will get her out'," Richardson said.
Nicholls-Parker has taken her role as mayoress seriously in the wake of the earthquake, working long hours and returning with her husband late at night to a home still covered with broken glass.
Richardson was grateful for her support. "She helped me through a very difficult time. I really appreciated her being there just talking to me and standing by my side."
Bodkin told the Herald on Sunday how she thought about "how much life I wanted to live" as the mother-of-two remained trapped for more than a day.
Miraculously, rescuers pulled from her from the rubble with only bruising. She too was grateful to the city's first lady for supporting her partner.