My 3 boys and I

July 18, 2008

New Zealand and My Home Part 5

Filed under: Home and Family,New Zealand — by my3boysandi @ 2:08 pm

The Great 1931 Earthquake

On Tuesday February 3rd 1931 New Zealands greatest natural disaster struck Hawkes Bay. At 10.47am when people were going about thier usual Tuesday morning business, an earthquake of magnitude Richter 7.8 struck. The ground heaved upwards. Raising 2230 hectares to sea level, swayed and then, 30 seconds later, there was a downward movement and violent shaking. This terrifying experience lasted for two and a half minutes. The centre of Napier was almost totally destroyed. Fires quickly broke out. In chemist shops there were gas burners that were kept on permanently to seal prescriptions. They ripped though the city destroying 11 blocks of the central city. Eventually they died out. These fires burnt for 36 hours. Fires also began in Hastings, however they were able to be put out more quickly.

People that could fled outside. Some were hit by pieces of falling stonework. Buildings collapsed, trapping others. Damage in Hastings was also devastating, although the fires were contained. Wairoa and the smaller towns to the south as far as Dannevirke were affected. There were 258 deaths, 162 in Napier, 93 in Hastings and 3 in Wairoa along with many injuries.. Twelve nurses were killed when the newly built Nurses’ Home in Napier collapsed. Seventeen people died in a department store in Hastings. Fifteen people died in an old peoples home near Taradale.

Thankfully the navy ship HMS Veronica was docked in Napier harbour when the quake hit. The ship radioed Auckland for help. Help came quickly in the form of two more navy ships. These ships carried extra men, doctors and nurses from Auckland Hospital, and supplies. This was the only way New Zealand learnt what had taken place. All other communications were down. Sailors went into the city to join the rescue effort. With the aid of the Red Cross, New Zealand Defence Forces and the Salvation Army a food depot, many dressing stations and a camp were set up around the city, in parks. The camps provided food and water (which has brought in by lorries) and a place to stay. Many people were too afraid to reenter their homes for days. Some stayed at the camps, others stayed on the beach, while others slept in their backyards. Palmerston North offered places to stay too.

Within days an organization called the Earthquake Relief Committee was formed. They accessed the damage to houses, had them repaired and urged the home owners to return to their houses. The money came from a New Zealand wide appeal. In all 3,229 houses had to be repaired or rebuilt.

The sailors also set about restoring the water supply. Serious sickness was prevented by good medical care and when people were forbidden to flush their toilets. The sewers had to be reconnected. They had to bury their waste. Until a service began to take it away. While this was all this was happening there were about 150 aftershocks in the 24 hours after the main shock. Over the next two weeks, there would be 525 such aftershocks.

Within 3 weeks businesses and retail shopping began to operate again. The Government gave a loan to them. A couple of make shift shopping centres were set up. The rebuilding of Napier and Hastings was costly. However, the benefit was two modern cities. As the land had been raised (in the earthquake) there was now the land to do so.

wonderful (if you can call it that) photos are here – do take a look

more reading here

most of my info was found here

Post Script:- What these people must have gone though. I would have shattered under all this. I have been though a few minor quakes and I do not like them. Mr Wonderful would have his hands full looking after me.

Redevelopment of Napier

In the ensuring years Napier become one of New Zealand’s first underground power and telephone lined city. It also enjoyed a major rebuild. Guidelines were created to make sure that new buildings were safer. Napier become the Art Deco city of New Zealand. Drawing many tourists to our city.

In 1934 James Wattie (later Sir James) established a small cannery, which was to grow into a giant.

click on the logo to learn more about this company. Most New Zealanders will have some of this produced food in their kitchens.

Following the Second World War the baby boom, immigration and the successful regional economy based on farming and fruit brought a population growth to the Bay.

1954 was a busy year

The Queen and Prince Phillip visited Napier.

Also a statue of Pania of the Reef was unveiled. This was a gift for the city of Napier.

Lastly of notable interest here is that a fertilizer company began production. Whenever we pass this site. We close the windows of the car. I must confess that I did have a craving for this place when I was preggy with Our Little Man. I tend to get smelly cravings when Im preggy. When I was preggy when I was in Auckland I craved KFC but could only afford to sniff which I did often πŸ™‚

The 1960s

Housing in my surburb in the Hawkes Bay began in the mid-1960s. The local pools were also built. This is where we go as home schoolers now on a Friday afternoon. In 1964 Marineland of New Zealand was opened.

Up until 1968 this beautiful area was tennis courts. They were moved to another location.

In the 1970s maybe 80s I came to Napier on holiday with my parents and sister. We stayed at Kennedy Park Motor Camp. Little did I then know that this is where I would end up living most happily of all the places I have been in New Zealand. Little did I know then that it would be where I would be with my 3 boys πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I will wrap this series of New Zealand and My Home. Showing you around my home πŸ™‚



  1. What a terrible time in your NZ history, Jen.

    Jessica and I live right on the New Madrid fault line. It has produced some of the strongest, most destructive earthquakes in the history of the world!

    We have small quakes all the time, most we never even feel, but occasionally we get a pretty good jolt. I hate them! I’d rather deal with a tornado any day! At least you can take shelter from a tornado.

    The scientists say we’re now overdue for a major quake here, or a series of them. I sincerely hope it’s not in my lifetime! As you say, I don’t know how well I’ll deal with a major quake, assuming I survive it.

    Have a great weekend, Jen! πŸ™‚

    Love and hugs,


    scary Diane praying for you

    Comment by Diane J. — July 18, 2008 @ 3:16 pm |Reply

  2. This earthquake sounds like a nightmare, Jen. I’ve never experienced even the smallest tremor, but I know there are people, especially in California, who feel the earth move so often, they pay it no mind. I couldn’t do it. It would scare me to death.

    This whole series on New Zealand that you’re doing is fascinating.

    earthquakes are scary and I have only been in ones about 1/2 the size this one was
    thanks Barb πŸ™‚

    Comment by Barb @ A Chelsea Morning — July 18, 2008 @ 4:09 pm |Reply

  3. hey Jen – guess what? My late grandmother grew up in Napier and when she was 13 the earthquake occurred. She was at school and the shared the story with me when I was younger, apparently all the kids had to hide under the desks to keep safe and her aunt was having a bath at home, she was so scared she ran out of her house with nothing on. I wrote an essay on it when I was 11 and got A+

    do you still have that essay?
    I like reading survivor stories

    Comment by Amy — July 18, 2008 @ 7:18 pm |Reply

  4. Such an aweful earthquake.

    It was! Praying it never happens again. Mind apart from the scareness of it I dont think there would be so much damage if it did happen again. Buildings now have to be built strong enough to handle such things. Id still hate it though. And bless the navy for helping so much.

    Comment by Denise — July 18, 2008 @ 10:00 pm |Reply

  5. What an amazing and interesting story. How awesome that the HMS Victoria was there to get the word out.

    I have really, really enjoyed these posts, Jen!

    thanks Melissa

    Comment by Melissa Markham — July 20, 2008 @ 2:27 am |Reply

  6. I really appreciate all the information and pictures you put here, Jen. So much effort! Thanks for sharing!

    I decided to do a post on my home too. πŸ™‚

    thanks Alice πŸ™‚

    Comment by Alice Teh — July 20, 2008 @ 8:52 pm |Reply

  7. I have really enjoyed your posts about your home! I plan to share them with my boys once we sit down to study again.

    hope they learn a lot πŸ™‚

    Comment by Jen — July 23, 2008 @ 7:32 am |Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: