Christchurch we’ll look after your young

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These new St Joseph’s Primary pupils didn’t know each other before last week but they now share a common bond. 

Victoria Boyd, 11, Rosie McCarthy-Raw, 10, and Annie Reddick, 10, all shifted from Christchurch to Queenstown with their families after the devastating February 22 earthquake. 

The girls have written about their shaky experiences at their temporary new school and say they’re enjoying being in the resort. 

Meanwhile, St Joseph’s PTA and staff welcomed the new families at a special afternoon tea on Monday. So far, 14 kids have been enrolled – a 10 per cent increase in the school roll. 

“A lot of these families have never had to ask for anything before and they don’t know how to say it or what to ask for,” Parent Teacher Association co-chair Rachel Vermeir says. 

“We’re hoping to set up a really good network for them, including after-school care, sport clubs, and other facilities. We’re saying, ‘don’t be scared, just ask us’.” 

Christchurch pupils are swelling the rolls of Queenstown’s other schools. Queenstown Primary had expanded by 37, Remark­ables Primary by 30 and Arrowtown by about 55, Mountain Scene reported last week. 

Wakatipu High has grown by about 60, including Queens­­­town students who’ve temporarily relocated from their Christchurch boarding schools.

‘Cars bounced higher and higher’

I sit on the cold bench with three other Year 7s – Poppy, Imogen and Isabella. We watch the boys trying to hit a small green ball. Finally one of them hits the ball. They go wild with excitement. We giggle – it was very funny. “Caw, caw, caw.” The birds fly away. Hang on I think, doesn’t that mean…the shed rattles, swaying dangerously. Poppy and I stare at the Aurora Centre which was swaying side to side. Cars bounced up higher and higher! Poppy kneels on the ground her arms covering her head. Imogen and Isabella sit frozen in shock. Suddenly they come to their senses and rush out of the shed. So we run over to the field and sit in our rows. Seniors burst into tears all around me. Juniors look around bemusedly. This was a big quake. – Annie Reddick, Year 7

‘My room was very messy’

On Tuesday at 12.51pm there was a big shake. It started off as a little aftershock. I froze. I stood there as still as a post but then I heard glass smashing, people screaming. It got bigger and bigger. I ran for the door. I sat on the seat outside with some friends wondering what had just happened. I sat there for about a minute and then started to make my way to the big field. I saw mum walk over to me. I ran over to her. I asked how her office was. She said it was not okay. She said that her wall in her office had fallen down. It will take six months to repair. We were in the car going home. I looked out the window, buildings had fallen down. My house was flooded with silt. I had to take off my shoes to get in. My room was very messy, my clothes were all over the place, my desk was on the ground. We cleaned everything up. I went into the living room. The tree had fallen over and all the food was on the ground. We all went next door to see their driveway. You couldn’t walk through it was so flooded. Once we cleaned up everything was fine. – Rose McCarthy, Year 6

‘Buildings collapsed with people inside’

What happened. On Tuesday, February 22 at 12.51pm there was an earthquake. It was a magnitude 6.3. It caused buildings to collapse or crack and glass to shatter. There were some buildings that collapsed while there were people inside. One of those buildings was the CTV building which had more than two levels and the levels pancaked on top of the other levels. Another one of the buildings was Pyne Gould Guinness. It collapsed with an almighty crash. – Victoria Boyd, Year 7