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February 22nd earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand


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Hi everyone - forgive me the lateness of my posting but life has been difficult. No power, water, sewage and a very wobbly and deadly world as you will all no doubt have discovered.

But about organs in Christchurch.

I know some of you have started talking about the news that has filtered through, so I will attempt to summarise something of the little I know so far.

 

The first major tragedy is the death of 2 of the SIOC men, Neil Stocker and Scott Lucy and one Christchurch helper, Paul Dunlop, when Durham Street Methodist Church collapsed as they were continuing their work to remove the organ after the damage from the Sept 4th quake.

 

The 3 others escaped but I believe at least one is in hospital. He will no doubt post when he can, bless him. I am only grateful that at least he will be ok.

 

As for the rest of Christchurch - you have seen the cathedral - they are recovering bodies now but since there is a cordon around the central district access to all major buildings is forbidden. This includes the Christchurch Town Hall and the Rieger, and access is forbidden there until at least March 15th, we are told, due to "structural damage". Gerhard Pohl and Marianne Kort who were working on the final stages of the new additions to the Rieger, have finally been reported as safe, although at this stage of course we have absolutely no further knowledge about the state of the organ itself. The gala concert to celebrate the additions and re-opening was scheduled for March 20th.

 

The fate of organs in the rest of our flattened city?

Go to either The Press or the New Zealand Herald to see for yourself and perhaps that will answer all questions.

Oxford Terrace Baptist church is nothing but rubble; St John's Latimer Square is reported collapsed; Knox Presbyterian is a hollow shell with blue sky visible beyond the pipes you can see from the street.

Rugby Street Methodist Church (now belonging to the Chinese Church) with its fine Croft organ now has lost the back wall, exposing the pipes to the elements and the church appears to be further severely damaged.

 

While the present operations are of course focused on rescuing humans and helping the injured, and restoring services to our stricken city, you will understand that organs have to take a back seat.

But I think I have it correct when I say the Dean of Christchurch was quoted as saying that at least 25 of the churches in his diocese have been very badly damaged.

 

After all that we have gone through since September 4th, it is unbelievable to think that for those of us who remain, the rebuilding begins again. And just when we thought it was all over. The shots you see in the papers and on the television or YouTube are not remote areas of the world; they are common daily paths for us all and for the tourists who come here in their droves. Many of you will be able to recognise the remains of buildings the rubble-covered streets. Engineers are now hinting that perhaps a 3rd of the central city buildings will have to go.

I don't know. I do know that there are still 220 people missing, with 123 confirmed dead.

 

And I do know that the earth is still shaking. I will try to post any news as it comes to hand but that may not always be possible. Martin and I (and the cats!) are safe and unharmed. And unlike so many others in this city, we have a house still standing.

Please keep the many people without their homes, food, water, electricity and jobs, in your hearts.

And pray the rescue teams still find people alive in the rubble.

 

 

Jenny

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Hi everyone - forgive me the lateness of my posting but life has been difficult. No power, water, sewage and a very wobbly and deadly world as you will all no doubt have discovered.

But about organs in Christchurch.

I know some of you have started talking about the news that has filtered through, so I will attempt to summarise something of the little I know so far.

 

The first major tragedy is the death of 2 of the SIOC men, Neil Stocker and Scott Lucy and one Christchurch helper, Paul Dunlop, when Durham Street Methodist Church collapsed as they were continuing their work to remove the organ after the damage from the Sept 4th quake.

 

The 3 others escaped but I believe at least one is in hospital. He will no doubt post when he can, bless him. I am only grateful that at least he will be ok.

 

As for the rest of Christchurch - you have seen the cathedral - they are recovering bodies now but since there is a cordon around the central district access to all major buildings is forbidden. This includes the Christchurch Town Hall and the Rieger, and access is forbidden there until at least March 15th, we are told, due to "structural damage". Gerhard Pohl and Marianne Kort who were working on the final stages of the new additions to the Rieger, have finally been reported as safe, although at this stage of course we have absolutely no further knowledge about the state of the organ itself. The gala concert to celebrate the additions and re-opening was scheduled for March 20th.

 

The fate of organs in the rest of our flattened city?

Go to either The Press or the New Zealand Herald to see for yourself and perhaps that will answer all questions.

Oxford Terrace Baptist church is nothing but rubble; St John's Latimer Square is reported collapsed; Knox Presbyterian is a hollow shell with blue sky visible beyond the pipes you can see from the street.

Rugby Street Methodist Church (now belonging to the Chinese Church) with its fine Croft organ now has lost the back wall, exposing the pipes to the elements and the church appears to be further severely damaged.

 

While the present operations are of course focused on rescuing humans and helping the injured, and restoring services to our stricken city, you will understand that organs have to take a back seat.

But I think I have it correct when I say the Dean of Christchurch was quoted as saying that at least 25 of the churches in his diocese have been very badly damaged.

 

After all that we have gone through since September 4th, it is unbelievable to think that for those of us who remain, the rebuilding begins again. And just when we thought it was all over. The shots you see in the papers and on the television or YouTube are not remote areas of the world; they are common daily paths for us all and for the tourists who come here in their droves. Many of you will be able to recognise the remains of buildings the rubble-covered streets. Engineers are now hinting that perhaps a 3rd of the central city buildings will have to go.

I don't know. I do know that there are still 220 people missing, with 123 confirmed dead.

 

And I do know that the earth is still shaking. I will try to post any news as it comes to hand but that may not always be possible. Martin and I (and the cats!) are safe and unharmed. And unlike so many others in this city, we have a house still standing.

Please keep the many people without their homes, food, water, electricity and jobs, in your hearts.

And pray the rescue teams still find people alive in the rubble.

 

 

Jenny

 

Jenny, thanks for this update, but as you say, there has been a tragic loss of human life. I have said in other circumstances but I will say again that churches and organs can be rebuilt once they are lost. Lives cannot. The loss of one life compared to the loss of a biulding or an instrument within it cannot be equated and our admiration for the rescue teams and hope for any success they may have is assured.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

 

Peter

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Jenny, thanks for this update, but as you say, there has been a tragic loss of human life. I have said in other circumstances but I will say again that churches and organs can be rebuilt once they are lost. Lives cannot. The loss of one life compared to the loss of a biulding or an instrument within it cannot be equated and our admiration for the rescue teams and hope for any success they may have is assured.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

 

Peter

 

===================

 

 

I would like to second Peter's thoughts and the condolences offered by others. It is a relief to know that Martin and Jenny are safe and sound, and if there is any crumb of comfort to be offered, it is the fact that human beings are usually at their strongest and most creative when nature is at its most destructive and violent.

 

Across such distance we can do little, but be assured that we are with you in spirit.

 

MM

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Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts regarding the earthquake. It is great to know in times like these that there are people all over the world thinking of us all.

 

I was one of the men from SIOC who was trapped in the Durham St Methodist church when it came down. It was a significantly terrifying event being under all the rubble (including the Sw soundboard which had landed on my feet) but am now recovering well from injuries sustained, in Timaru hospital.

 

It was very sad to find out that three of my colleagues had not made it and the factory will definitely not be the same without them. My heart definitely goes out to the families in this tragic time.

 

Josh A

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All our thoughts and prayers are with you, your families, friends and colleagues at this terrible time. Words seem very inadequate, but we are with you in spirit and pray for you as you begin to rebuild your city and your lives.

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I have split up part of Churchmouse's post and put some photo links in just to give some idea of the state of the churches mentioned.

 

Oxford Terrace Baptist church is nothing but rubble

Possibly, but it looks as if the organ just might have escaped destruction. Apparently the South Island Organ Company dismantled it after the quake of September 2010:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/folkestone-ha...ild/5052440159/

 

St John's Latimer Square is reported collapsed; Knox Presbyterian is a hollow shell with blue sky visible beyond the pipes you can see from the street.

Rugby Street Methodist Church (now belonging to the Chinese Church) with its fine Croft organ now has lost the back wall, exposing the pipes to the elements and the church appears to be further severely damaged.

St. John's, Latimer Square: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_nathan/5322271306/

Knox Presbyterian: http://www.flickr.com/photos/go_wild/5490372949/

Knox Presbyterian: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hayzpics/5473304356/

Couldn't find a photo of Rugby Street Methodist Church.

 

Dave

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Thanks for those, Dave.

 

I had an email from Jenny last night and she mentioned in passing that they have just had a series of aftershocks - 30 quakes in 24 hours, though only relatively small ones around 3.5. No mention of the town hall Rieger, so I guess there's no news yet, though I can't imagine the aftershocks are doing anything or anybody much good. I should think the inhabitants of Christchurch must be getting quite adept at assessing the strength of quakes without having to be told. :(

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I have split up part of Churchmouse's post and put some photo links in just to give some idea of the state of the churches mentioned.

 

 

Possibly, but it looks as if the organ just might have escaped destruction. Apparently the South Island Organ Company dismantled it after the quake of September 2010:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/folkestone-ha...ild/5052440159/

 

 

St. John's, Latimer Square: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_nathan/5322271306/

Knox Presbyterian: http://www.flickr.com/photos/go_wild/5490372949/

Knox Presbyterian: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hayzpics/5473304356/

Couldn't find a photo of Rugby Street Methodist Church.

 

Dave

 

CTT will know more about this, but as far as I am aware, we only removed the pipework after the September earthquake and everything else (soundboards, bellows, console etc) was left in place as the actual church was out of bounds at that stage. Everything had to be removed out through the back room which was safe, including the facade pipes.

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I have split up part of Churchmouse's post and put some photo links in just to give some idea of the state of the churches mentioned.

 

 

Couldn't find a photo of Rugby Street Methodist Church.

 

Dave

 

Hi Dave -

I have one of my own of Rugby street from earlier times inside. (See link below - it's the first in the album) I'll try to get a shot of the damage from outside today (am off now to deliver chemical toilets for the day :rolleyes:

Still no word about the TH Rieger as access closed. Yes , aftershocks pounding us, with the tally at 4887 since Sept 4th, and a couple of ones in the night which is the reason I am writing this now. :-))

cheers

Wobblified Churchmouse

Rugby Street organ

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

There is still no access the central city where the town Hall in Christchurch is - but here is, at last, a press release by the management company about the state of the buildings after the quake:

 

"Detailed assessments of Christchurch Town Hall and Christchurch Convention Centre are continuing and will not be finalised until early May 2011. Access to both buildings is limited and assessment of the Christchurch Town Hall has been further impeded by flooding to the basement where all of the buildings electrical and mechanical plant is located.

Christchurch Town Hall suffered extensive damage from differential settlement. The most obvious impacts of this are the Limes Room/Boaters wing, which has separated from the main structure and extensive damage to floors including in the James Hay Theatre and main Auditorium. There is wide spread superficial damage throughout the venue. Christchurch Art Gallery has been engaged to protect or remove the precious artworks from the Christchurch Town Hall and Christchurch Convention Centre. It is not possible to allow access for assessment of the highly acclaimed Town Hall Rieger Organ until power is restored to the building which may take several weeks. Stage one of the Town Hall Conservation and Refurbishment project was underway at the time of the earthquake and further work has now been suspended."

 

Martin and I have arranged to visit the organ towards the end of April with the insurance assessor. Come what may, I am determined to take photos of the interior for the insurance and also for our own information (should I say relief?!?) That all planned concerts for 2011 have been postponed is certain - and work will be completed - but when is another matter. You can see slideshows of the expansion work (right up to the Saturday before the quake) here

 

People ask what they can do to help. Plan a trip to New Zealand and visit us!!! Once we know a date for the re-opening concert, it will be one almighty huge party and worth travelling 12,000 miles for :-)

cheers

Churchmouse

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