The death notices arrived by special delivery.
November 17 – doomsday for residents of Brooklands, the sleepy fishing and lifestyle village 10 minutes north of Christchurch – had begun ordinarily enough, although there was an odd interlude that morning. A bus had pulled up outside the community centre and out hopped Christchurch mayor Bob Parker and some of his senior staff and councillors.
They spoke to residents about their concerns, ate morning tea, then went on a tour of some of the earthquake damage. It all seemed quite jovial – someone even mentioned locals could apply to the mayor’s fund for repairs. There was certainly no mention of any bad news. People were told they could expect a decision on land zoning for Brooklands “very, very soon”.
That afternoon the radio began broadcasting startling news: Brooklands was to be zoned red, meaning the whole village would be condemned. The news spread like wildfire but was met with disbelief by many, especially those whose homes were virtually untouched.
Just a few weeks ago a number of my family members and I drove through Brooklands to the beach there, to scatter the ashes of my late brother. I noticed some of the signs relating to the earthquake damage that has condemned this little village for ever. For somebody born and raised in Christchurch this sort of thing pulls at my heartstrings.
- Peter Petterson
- Lower Hutt