When I first told some people that I was moving to New Zealand they said “Oh my god, aren’t you worried about the earthquakes?!”.
I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought…but then I didn’t give the UK terror level much thought either (SEVERE since 2014 just in case you’re wondering) and that’s just as likely to get me. My general outlook is that you could get run over by a bus tomorrow (chirpy,I know) so there’s not much point worrying about terror attacks or tsunamis.
When we finally arrived in NZ, bleary eyed, jet-lagged, but wildly excited, one of the first things I saw on the road in front of me was this:
It was a little shocking to say the least, and I realised that a lot more research was called for.
The blue line system is in evidence all throughout Wellington and is based on the damage done in the last major tsunami in 1855. The tsunami triggered by the 8.2 magnitude quake on the Wairarapa Fault in 1855 was up to five metres high when it swept over Lyall Bay (where we live) and Kilbirnie into Evans Bay. It was up to 10 metres in other places.
Despite all of this, I feel incredibly safe. There is so much information available, helping people to be as prepared as possible. Everyone in Wellington seems to have the same app on their phone, giving them up to date earthquake information from GeoNet, and smaller earthquakes are a normal part of life here.
I have felt 3 earthquakes since moving here (Mr S is actually a bit jealous, he hasn’t felt any) and whilst the first one was a bit worrying (mainly because It took me a few seconds to realise what was happening), it’s actually not a big deal. Wellington City Council and the Emergency Management Office offer advice about everything, from when to evacuate to what essential items you need in your earthquake packs.
So, earthquakes and tsunamis might happen, but we all deal with it in a typical Kiwi way, it’ll be right.
I’m not worried, just prepared. And also hoping that this post hasn’t put any friends and family off visiting. Actually, scratch that, if it’s friends and family we don’t like, there are volcanoes erupting all the time.