Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

March 6, 2011

Community meetings, and when Pepper spilt in Barry’s kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 8:03 pm

Technically speaking, this is my first blog.


I’m a noob.

Don’t hurt me.

I’m able to do this tonight because my son Nick’s laptop is somewhere in a broken building called Southern Star. It’s part of Unlimited School, which is adjacent to the bus exchange (former, I suspect) in Cashel Mall, Christchurch New Zealand.

You’ll figure out how it came to be there in due course, when I can stand to write about that.

For now, all you need to know is that Nick and his brother Chris and I (their Mum) are safe and well. And as I have a working laptop it’s my role to be the bloggeur de famille post the earthquake of February 22 2011 which has somewhat altered our lives here in Christchurch.

Over the next little while, I plan on entering these blogs to tell you about what our life is like in our first world country with its third world suburbs. A bit of back and forth since I didn’t start blogging on day one -we’ll get the hang of it as we go along.

Today is Sunday. It was cold today – really cold. Often is at this time of year. That notwithstanding, it was an extraordinary day to start rolling out the series of community meetings around our city. (I’m a city councillor, one of two with Barry Corbett for the Spreydon-Heathcote Ward here in Christchurch). Our mayor Bob Parker, folk from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, Police, Fire, Orion (lines company) and a few assorted such as us are attending meetings in local parks to explain to the people who live in this city what is going on.

At the moment, we have power and water, both hot and cold. (That’s only been the case since yesterday. We lost power and water on Tuesday 22/2 and it returned on the evening of Thursday 24/2. Cold water – only had hot water since day yesterday. Loved that first shower. Bliss.)

We also have gone from being a one toilet family to a three toilet family. We can have the loo in the bathroom, the long drop we dug by the side of the house or the brand new ensuite sitting on the berm outside my bedroom window. (It’s under a street light and very romantic in a certain light).

The meetings were well attended. Barry and I went to both in our ward. About 400 people braved driving rain in Waltham Park – about 300 through hail in Somerfield Park. In between Barry and I popped up to his home on Hollis Ave so he could show me what happens when a water tank at the top of your house ends up four storeys lower. My border collie, Pepper, felt the need to add insult to injury. Thankfully Barry’s kitchen floor has a hard surface, and he has a red bin.

After last night’s continuing series of aftershocks, and a week of non stop action, I wandered zombie like with Pepper around our local Hansen Park until I happened upon one of the last surviving local fish and chip shops in Christchurch – on Opawa Rd, opposite the site where folk have run an ad hoc pipe from their artesian well to provide potable water to passers by as there are many houses still without water.

Bought food. Came home. Got a text from friend Kim saying “did you know there is a large dunny outside your house?” I replied to the effect that it was a hide for me to lurk in while waiting for passing soldiers. At this point, helicopters buzzing overhead notwithstanding, I wait in vain. There are over 1500 military personnel from all over the world in Chch at the moment but they are hard to pin down. It’s almost as if they were here with a job to do.

As have I – and right now it’s sleeping. I’m on National Radio 101.7FM tomorrow (March 7 2011) and have a meeting in the morning followed by physio in the afternoon (story will follow) and then my Mum’s 83rd birthday. I know you shouldn’t tell a lady’s age but hey – that’s something to be proud of.

Ka kite.



  1. Well done with your first blog post, Sue – I read every word, stood there with you, and look forward to hearing your story.


    Comment by madmacnz — March 6, 2011 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  2. What a weird world we have found ourselves in.

    Comment by Wendy davie — March 6, 2011 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  3. Looking forward to your ramblings…

    Comment by Rainman — March 6, 2011 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  4. Ciao bella! This is great… good therapy for you to process and get everything out of your head and good for us to have another way to stay connected to you and what’s going on. Yay! KZ

    Comment by KatherineZ — March 7, 2011 @ 5:35 am | Reply

  5. With some amusement I noted the Google add for your post was the bidet shop, best you hide the super-soaker from passing soldiers; they may well have already been warned.

    Can I suggest that given your size a wheelie bin may offer a better solution as a hide, after all when the ambush is sprung your only risk is falling as opposed to unsavoury fluids…

    Comment by Richard Tyson — March 7, 2011 @ 10:03 am | Reply

    • Even though you’re a rude bugger I still think you were amazing today. 🙂

      Comment by Sue Wells — March 9, 2011 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

  6. Good stuff. Easy, no? Looks like you’ve done well, even got your twitter up there on the sidebar.

    Comment by scrubone — March 7, 2011 @ 11:51 am | Reply

    • That’s my Nick. Technical consultant extraordinaire. I pay him in burgers and school fees and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti. 🙂

      Comment by Sue Wells — March 7, 2011 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  7. Hi Sue! I’m listening to you on The Panel with Jim Mora right now. I can’t wait to see the pictures 🙂

    Comment by Russell — March 7, 2011 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

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