– QEII Stadium, North New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand

I was just about to get into the swimming pool at QEII on the 22nd of February when suddenly there was a huge rumbling sound like a truck was rolling through the building and the ground started to shake, I immediately thought that it was just another one of the many aftershocks we had had since September the 4th. But then it started to pick up momentum and I started to get scared, I looked over at the pool and the water went into a huge wave over the side of the pool like a tsunami. I then yelled at my friend to crouch into the turtle position and stay down. Once I was on the ground in the turtle position, I tried to keep my head down but I looked up and saw a women hanging onto the edge of the pool, she had big scared eyes and looked like she was hanging on for dear life. My friend then started looking up at the roof and I yelled at her to stay down. Once the shaking had stopped we were screaming and crying and a construction worker yelled at us and told us to get out of the building we ran out crying and waited outside still crying and trying to contact my family on a strangers phone.

This lady who I didn’t know then told us that she would take us home and I said that my friend was coming with me because I lived close to QEII. It took us a long time to get out of the swimming complex and driving on the roads was near on impossible as they were flooded and cracked. Once we got to a place where we could go no further I saw someone older from my school that I knew who also knew my Mum and she told me that my Mum was fine which I think gave me the courage to get out of the car and walk home. My friend and I thanked the lady and then started to walk.

As the roads and footpaths were covered in silt, liquefaction and sewerage it made it very hard to walk along the road and it was also very unknown as we couldn’t see what was underneath all the liquefaction so I would go ahead and my friend would hold my arm getting ready to pull me out should I start to fall in a hole. Luckily I didn’t fall and once I got to the street closest to mine I started to yell out to my Mum who came running. It was so good to see her but I still couldn’t get across the street as it was totally covered in liquefaction and we couldn’t see underneath at all, so we waited for a man in gumboots to go across first as we were in bare feet and he made a path of sorts which we followed. It was so good to get to the other side and get a big hug from my Mum. I just burst into tears some more.

The whole rest of the day was a blur it went really fast and it was very unknown as there was aftershocks going on all of the time. As we had no power the night seemed a lot scarier and darker than usual. My whole family slept in the lounge that night on mattresses but sleep was very hard to come by as there was so many continuous aftershocks. I was lucky enough to be able to get my stuff that I left behind back from QEII not to long after the quake.

There were a lot more changes to come yet though as I found out that I was going to have to site share with St Bede’s College going to school from one o’ clock in the afternoon until five thirty five at night, which has definitely been a big change for me and a lot of the students at school. I still get scared about the earthquakes and the unknown of what will happen next, I do try to stay positive but it is hard to lose your school and keep going in these troubled times.

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