John Kirwan to speak at Kaikoura community meeting after earthquake

Sir John Kirwan is heading to Kaikoura to talk to locals about the affects of the recent earthquakes. Picture / NZME
Sir John Kirwan is heading to Kaikoura to talk to locals about the affects of the recent earthquakes. Picture / NZME

Mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan will comfort shaken Kaikoura residents on Thursday.

The ex-All Black is being flown in to speak at the town's community meeting. A week after the earthquake and Red Cross has reported people are becoming fatigued and emotional as they continue to deal with the constant challenges the natural disaster created.

Kirwan was shocked when he heard the earthquake had happened.

"I couldn't believe it. I was pleased there were not more fatalities, but one is too many and the isolation.

"You can put the buildings back up but it's a pretty scary time for people."

Kirwan told the Herald that as an ambassador for Westpac he thought it would be nice if to pop in and talk about mental health. Kirwan will be in Kaikoura from 9am to 7pm and will be available to answer questions.

"There was quite a big rise in anxiety and post traumatic stuff after the Christchurch earthquake.

"Maybe we might be able to short circuit some of it [the trauma]."

Kirwan, who is one of the highest try scorers in international rugby history, has spoken openly about his battle with depression. He advised to take some time to look after yourself and reach out to loved ones.

"Take some time around awareness and understand what you've been through... Don't put it in the cupboard.

"There's the mending of the land and buildings but also the mending of the emotional side of things."

Kirwan was given a knighthood for his services to mental health.

John Kirwan will speak at Thursday's 1pm community meeting in Kaikoura in Churchill Park, or Memorial Hall in wet weather.

- NZ Herald

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