It was one of Christchurch's most trying times and a doctor at the forefront of it is now coming to Whanganui to share her experience of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Dr Jan Bone, the emergency department specialist, led the response team at the Christchurch city hospital the day of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake.
"It's the kind of thing that stays with you. You feel for everyone – it is etched in the staff's memory, and not in a pleasant way."
It presented an extraordinary challenge for the hospital team, a challenge she will be speaking about on November 21 when she visits Whanganui.
She will be discussing what it was like being on the frontline at a time of disaster as well as giving the Porritt Lecture, at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre with the theme of Trauma - Disaster & Recovery.
The quake left 185 people dead, one of whom was Bone's colleague.
"It was such a blur … there were so many people being brought in."
The disaster presented an extraordinary challenge for her and her team, especially as a lot of communications, computers and power were wiped out.
"It would suddenly go black … sometimes the generators kicked in; sometimes they didn't. We were in ED in the pitch black and we couldn't use the lifts to get to intensive care or the imaging department."
She asked the student doctors at one point to watch the TV news so they could find out what was going on.
Bone said since that day she has taken a particular interest in the wellbeing of staff.
The most recent traumatic event for the city, the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, resulted in 51 deaths and the hospital was inundated with the wounded.
Bones was not there during this time due to being in Australia for specialist exams.
"It's difficult thinking about it because you know you could have been useful there that day."
She said the events have left many staff unable to comprehend the enormity of the events and people are still very traumatised because of it.
Bone has more than 30 years of experience in a key role in Christchurch's emergency department, one that averages around 300 patients a day.
Her lecture will mark the 50th anniversary for the Porritt Lecture run by the Whanganui District Health Board and will begin at 7pm. Admission is free for the public.