From a five-week-old covered in soot sitting in a pram, a young boy at home on the family farm, to a 12-year-old in the centre of Hastings watching water splash out of the local pool - the number of survivors from the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquakes grows smaller each year.
But the tales they tell at commemorative events, like those held in Hastings and Napier on Wednesday morning, are no less compelling nor less important to recount for future generations.
Ninety years ago at 10.47am Hawke's Bay was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude quake which would change the face of the region and drastically alter the lives of its residents.
The quake levelled and badly damaged buildings across the region, killing and injuring hundreds; the fires that followed in Napier added to the destruction.
About 300 people gathered around the Hastings Clock Tower near the city centre to commemorate the 90th anniversary.
This included nine survivors, some who had travelled to the event from as far away as Auckland.
Quake survivor Hamilton Logan shared his memories of that day as a six-year-old at his family home at Pukekino in the Kereru area.
"Young Hamilton was sneaking a biscuit," he said.
His older sister grabbed him from behind and pulled him into a doorframe until the shaking stopped.
"It was like a locomotive coming into a railway station [...] then a huge jolt.
"It was this jolt that did all the damage in the cities of Hastings and Napier."
The family home was a mess - all the food and supplies in the storeroom lay shattered on the floor. The five water tanks lay at the bottom of the garden had fallen and rolled down.
The farm was also in a state - it took his father an additional two hours to navigate the gullies and check on his family, returning with only one dog instead of the two he set out with.
Fellow survivor, 102-year-old Claude Davidson, was in Mahora, Hastings when the quake struck.
The then 12-year-old remembered watching water splash out of the local pool and being told to go straight home by his teachers.
His friend Gordon Vogtherr similarly remembers the trip home – it had been his first day at school.
"I didn't stop running until I got home."
When he did, he found the house's two chimneys had caved inwards on to the house, one crashing through to the kitchen.
"The house was all full of rubble."
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was important to document the memories of survivors and details of the event for future generations.
It was the first time Hastings man Ivan Lambert had attended a commemorative event.
"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the earthquake."
His father's first wife, Beatrice Lambert, died in the earthquake his father went on to marry his mother.
"It's funny how some good things can come out of bad things."
The ceremony included an opening performance by members of the City of Hastings Pipe Band, a karakia by kaumātua Jerry Hapuku, readings by local high school students, a haka performed by Te Aute College students and a display of vintage cars.
The crowd was silent as the sound of the bell rang out at 10.47am to mark the time the earthquake struck and later as the remembrance roll was read out.
In Napier at the HMS Veronica Sunbay Memorial near the Soundshell on Marine Pde, the quake anniversary was commemorated with the ringing of the Veronica Bell.
Napier mayor Kirsten Wise said the ceremony was an opportunity to honour the lives that were lost and to celebrate the resilience of those who rebuilt the city.
Her Nana was aged 10-11 and a student at Napier Girls' High School when the quake struck.
"She didn't speak about it much.
"She was absolutely terrified whenever there was the smallest shake, it had made a significant impact on her.
"I think for a lot of the survivors it has had a lifelong impact."
Survivor John Clark led the wreath laying service.
He was five weeks old when the quake struck and over the years has heard stories about the day from his family.
The family lived in a Faraday St House and Clark was in a pram on the veranda when the quake struck.
His 22-year-old mother had to dash out of the house to check on him and found her baby son covered in soot and shifted in position in the pram.
Chimneys had come down and with windows open on a hot summers day soot and dust were everywhere.
His father worked at The National Tobacco Company in Ahuriri as a driver and when driving back to the factory after coming from town was 30 seconds across the floor when the earthquake struck, bringing beams down and crushing the cab of the truck.
"He'd have been seconds away from injury."
His father then ran from Ahuriri over the hill to the family home "in super-quick time" to check that his wife and two young children were okay.
Clark attends the survivor's afternoon tea every year.
Other speakers include Commodore Mathew Williams, Maritime Component Commander, Royal New Zealand Navy; David Bamford, a family member of Lachlan Campbell, the commissioner of the rebuild; and New Zealand Red Cross branch president, Tracey Ferguson.