Christchurch quake: Father's agony

By Jarrod Booker

Glenn Prattley holds Taneysha's ashes and the only photograph of his family together, taken after she was born five weeks before the tragedy. Photo / Greg Bowker
Glenn Prattley holds Taneysha's ashes and the only photograph of his family together, taken after she was born five weeks before the tragedy. Photo / Greg Bowker

Wherever he goes, Glenn Prattley keeps his baby daughter close to him - even though he lost her in the earthquake one year ago today.

A small cardboard box holds the ashes of 5-week-old Taneysha Gail Rose Prattley, who was fatally crushed with her mother, Kelsey Moore - Mr Prattley's partner - when building debris fell on them in central Christchurch.

Mr Prattley, 29, who saved his sister Rochelle from the same fate by pushing her out of the way of the falling masonry, wants to have his "very happy wee girl's" ashes with him until he is ready to let her go. He will then bury them in a family plot in Dunedin.

Read more of Glenn Prattley's story here.

"They come everywhere with me. When I go to work, she usually stays in the car.

She comes inside at night-time," he said. "It's just so that it feels as though she's still a part of me, she's still here with me."

Taneysha and Miss Moore are both always on his mind. "Taneysha was my first child, but I loved both of them pretty much the same.

"Kelsey, she was very caring. She would always put everybody else's needs before her own. She was pretty much always smiling. Taneysha pretty much took after Kelsey. She was always smiling, tongue hanging out of her mouth, [having] hiccups.

"It's just so hard to believe that it's actually been almost a year since it happened. I still find it hard to believe that it has happened."

Mr Prattley cannot help reliving the events of February 22, and is haunted by thoughts of what he could have done differently.

When the quake struck, he was walking with his sister on the way to a bus to take her home to Dunedin. Miss Moore, carrying Taneysha, was trailing behind them.

"Quite often, just out of the blue, I end up with tears in my eyes, thinking about it all. I still have the thoughts going through my head, 'How come I could help my sister, but there was no way I could help my partner and daughter?' That same thought keeps going over and over in my head."

Rochelle Prattley, 21, blamed herself for what happened because a disagreement between her and Miss Moore had resulted in them going into central Christchurch for her to catch a bus back to Dunedin that day. "Even though it was no one's fault - it was just wrong place, wrong time."

Both Mr Prattley and his sister suffered serious leg injuries.

Mr Prattley is working as a labourer in Christchurch. His mother and sister have come from Dunedin to join him for today's memorial services.

His hope is that people will "stay strong and remember the good times".

"I hope everything gets a bit better for everyone."

- NZ Herald

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