After Earthquake – Sunday Update from Canterbury College

Dear Students and Friends of Canterbury College,

5 Days after the 6.3 earthquake that rocked Christchurch on Tuesday, we cannot yet visit the City Centre or our school building.

Before leaving, we checked all levels of the building, and it seems all staff and students got out ok, but some have moved their accommodation.

We are now making a plan to reopen classes in a safe building from Monday 22 March (or 1 week later if necessary). The building will be outside the city centre.

We may also open classes in another city, for our students who want to leave Christchurch and still study with Canterbury College.

Please send us an email at to tell me your study plans. We need to know how many students want to study in Christchurch, or in another place.

Don’t forget to contact your insurance company, and to inform your family and embassy that you are safe and well. Please send us an email to tell us your situation too:

If your insurance is through the college (Southern Cross Travel Insurance) you can read the policy details at Southern Cross insured students can contact the Worldwide Assistance Team on + 64 9 359 1600.

If you want to hear detailed explanation of the Tuesday 22 event, there was a good interview of geologist Hamish Campbell on the Kim Hill radio show. You can pick up the playback on this page:

Look for Saturday 26 February, 10:08 Hamish Campbell, earthquake geology.

Hamish says this event had the highest ground acceleration ever recorded in New Zealand — that’s the acceleration from standing still (with buildings etc on top of it), to moving at the speed of the wave that comes out of the fault movement.

Some bright notes reported today, that the Arts Centre is largely ok and that the Museum is judged structurally sound, and the collection 95% ok. The Radio NZ reporting all day is full of fantastic recovery action, great combinations of professional and volunteer effort: hundreds of farmers and students coming into the city with wheelbarrows and shovels to move sand in areas trucks can’t reach, donated helicopter time flying in thousands of meals cooked by families in North Canterbury, the ‘clown doctors’ working through all the wards at the hospital to bring smiles, welfare centres where families can find a hot cup of tea and someone to talk to… It’s a long long list of very good-hearted cooperation.

We have problems with food, water, electricity and phone. We are having trouble sleeping, but there is still a lot to cheer us.

Good wishes from Miriam O’Connor, Manager, Canterbury College


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