Author(s): Anna Rogers
Earthquakes are perhaps the most terrifying of all natural disasters. They strike without warning, they cannot be controlled, there is no escape. And New Zealand has suffered more than its fair share of major shakes, which have brought with them death, injury, fear and sometimes cripplingly expensive damage. Wellington in 1848 and 1855, the Wairarapa in 1942, Inangahua in 1968, Edgecumbe in 1987, Gisborne in 2007...We are continually reminded that we do indeed inhabit the 'shaky isles', and that another big earthquake, probably on the Alpine Fault, is still a strong possibility. Growing up in Christchurch, author Anna Rogers had little experience of earthquakes. Later, when she lived for a dozen years in Wellington, the ground shook occasionally to remind everyone of the capital's position on New Zealand's main fault line. But nothing could have prepared her, or anyone else, for the 7.1 earthquake that struck Canterbury in the pre-dawn darkness of 4 September 2010, destroying many heritage buildings and homes, and its fatal successor, on 22 February 2011, which took the lives of 185 people and almost annihilated the Christchurch CBD. This is the story of New Zealand's major earthquakes, from pre-European times to the present day, with three chapters covering the Canterbury disaster. Lively, approachable and well-illustrated, it describes vividly the physical and psychological havoc earthquakes cause and reminds us of the need to be prepared.