14 Nov 2017

Ward holds service to mark 12 months of quake recovery

8:01 pm on 14 November 2017

Members of the Ward community packed a chapel this week for a special service to mark the one-year anniversary of the Kaikōura earthquake.

Anglican Vicar Dawn Daunauda leads the quake remembrance service at Ward's St Peters Chapel.

Anglican Vicar Dawn Daunauda leads the quake remembrance service at Ward's St Peters Chapel. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The small, close-knit community was badly affected by the magnitude 7.8-quake, which tore through homes and hillsides north of the epicentre, and then raised Ward's coastline by up to six metres.

The service at St Peters Chapel was a quiet reflection from a community that has been reluctant to make a fuss. More than 200 homes in Ward and nearby Seddon were damaged in quake, many beyond repair.

Anglican Vicar Dawn Daunauda said unlike the cracks mended in some of the buildings, there were cracks in the community that may never heal.

"They've been careful for the most part to hold back from criticism or blame. They've worked hard to look at the positive side. I admire them so much."

The Bishop of Nelson, Richard Ellena, was at the service and spoke of the special resilience of the Ward and Seddon communities.

"When something really tough happens in life we can better, or bitter. I think the Ward community has been amazing. I think it's been an inspiration to see them working together but there's been pain there."

Inside the St Peters chapel in Ward.

Inside the St Peters chapel in Ward. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

About 50 seasonal workers from Vanuatu packed the small chapel's nave for the service on Sunday. Afterwards, they sang in the community hall while Ward residents danced with them.

Robert Wola heads one of the crews employed under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme to pick Marlborough's grapes.

Vanuatu also sits in the ring of fire, but Mr Wola said that night a year ago was like no other.

"During the night when the earthquake struck, everyone went outside and we had to lie on the grass flat! Some of us lay on the grass on our backs and some of us on our belly. It is scary. Most of us hadn't experience the power of an earthquake."

Sally Peter said the glue that held the community together in the immediate aftermath had started to come unstuck.

Some residents were still living in their caravans, while serious illness had afflicted at least five people in the small town.

Mrs Peter said winter in their cracked and broken Cape Campbell farmhouse was challenging.

"I think as time's gone on it's got a little bit fragmented as frustration has crept in with houses not being fixed up or the insurances haven't come through. A lot of people are still waiting, including ourselves."

Ward local Sally Peter at one of the building sites damaged by the quake.

Ward local Sally Peter at one of the building sites damaged by the quake. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Mrs Peter said EQC's handing of insurance claims to private companies had worked well for some, but not all. She said the speed of response appeared linked to different insurance companies.

For Dawn Daunauda, the service was a bittersweet moment - it was announced she will be leaving the rural parish.

"People who serve - people like doctors and nurses - they go and go, and then some distance from a trauma they actually need down time. It's my turn to need down time - that's the reality."

She will be moving to Vanuatu to teaching English, but change was also happening within the church.

Bishop Ellena said the damage to buildings and communities meant they were having to rationalise services.

"We've tried over the year to maintain stipend paid ministry in every small community. We'd love to still be able to do that and the Anglican church will still have a strong presence here but what that looks like is up to the community."

Mrs Peter was helping to drive development of a heritage centre as a new hub for the township, which she believed has a future.

"We've got this really good community and I think it's going to pull us all through."

Ward beach

Ward beach Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

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