Quake refugees ponder future
Simon and Tracy Percival are in Queenstown to gather their thoughts for a week as their dream move from England to Christchurch is in tatters.
The married couple – among 50,000 reported to have fled since last Tuesday’s devastating shake – arrived in the Garden City last June but are “shell-shocked” after two major quakes.
They shifted from Mt Pleasant to Heathcote after the city was rocked by the first big shake last September, thinking they’d be in a safer area.
“But the house we rented is near last week’s epicentre and we felt we had to get out and reassess our future,” Simon, 38, a finishing artist, says.
Tracy, 40, works as a teacher at a nursery school in Burwood but it was so badly hit she’s unsure if she has a job to go back to.
“It took us five years’ planning to get to New Zealand and it would be heartbreaking to have to return to the UK,” Simon adds.
“Even just the beautiful drive down to Queenstown made us realise how much we love living here.”
No place for kids
Homeless Christchurch residents in Queenstown include former All Blacks Scott Robertson (left), Justin Marshall and their families. Marshall, whose Sumner home was trashed, says his three kids, eight, six and four, didn’t cope with the after-shocks. “They were quite upset so I just wanted to get them out of there.” Queenstowners have been very helpful to them, says Marshall, who’s a Sky Sport rugby commentator. He and Robertson are playing for the Classic All Blacks in a quake fundraiser in Brisbane next Thursday.