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Christchurch businessman Mike Pero compares last Saturday's earthquake to the worst air turbulence.
When the quake struck, his family fled their new two-level Fendalton house for its single-level garage, huddled together, six children comforted by the adults.
Pero's friends and neighbours were this week fleeing Christchurch, one family to the Gold Coast, the other to Singapore.
"I'm staying. If it wasn't safe, I wouldn't be here," he said.
Pero founded Mike Pero Mortgages 20 years ago and, although he has sold out of the business, he remains a director.
He owns a building at 167 Hereford St, now called Mike Pero House, with the popular Mancini's cafe on the ground floor. A relieved Pero said yesterday it had suffered no damage from the 7.1 quake or aftershocks.
"It's been rebuilt from the ground up, new concrete foundations, steel all through, plywood tying the walls and floors together. The plywood is so flexible but strong. The engineers told me what we had to do to make it compliant and this week the architect sent me a letter saying why it held together so well, after all the work."
His block stands near the now-infamous MLC Building (NZ Express Company Building), once New Zealand's tallest, now suffering the indignity of having all its windows broken as its owner begs authorities not to knock it down.