Today is the 10th Anniversary of the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and we pause and remember the tragedy and destruction it left in its wake. It is also the time to recognise the fortitude of the Christchurch community that has seen the city emerge from the dust and destruction of hundreds of earthquakes suffered at the time and since.
For many, the past 10 years have been an ongoing struggle for their wellbeing and to rebuild a city and their lives. For some, the daily challenges continue in battling disputes to recover their homes or be compensated to start afresh.
We offer our support and solidarity to our members, particularly to all who responded on 22 February 2011 and the aftermath. A decade may have passed but for many each and every detail will be very fresh in their minds. For them the anniversary does not dredge up those memories as they constantly live with images of what they faced, and the extraordinary measures they took to rescue, recover and reassure those affected.
For our members, the re-build of stations continues. Our Christchurch members have spent most of the past 10 years in derelict stations, quietly coping with substandard living quarters refusing to make a fuss as they were ever cognisant that there was always someone living in worse conditions or under greater stress. As each new station is commissioned it is a milestone, an achievement and a chance to look forward with purpose and promise.
We acknowledge our members from other Locals including Timaru and Dunedin that responded and were also affected by the events of the day and aftermath.
In recognition of the significance of the earthquake and anniversary, the NZPFU has struck a challenge coin. The coin (pictured) was designed in collaboration with the Christchurch Local, Southern Branch representatives and the National President Ian Wright. It is in Canterbury’s red and black colours with the date, time and the seismograph of the 6.3 earthquake, and the date of the 10th year anniversary. The coin will be gifted to all members and life members nationally, and will also be gifted to any retired members who responded on the day and in the aftermath, including our members in the call centre or non-operational roles and from other Locals.
The NZPFU National Committee is also commissioning a history project to record the events of the response from our members’ perspective. This project is expected to be underway in the next month.
The NZPFU National Committee will be joining our membership to pay our respects at the earthquake memorial service at Oi Manawa, the National Earthquake Memorial, in Christchurch today. The National Committee will meet with members in the afternoon.