Trump’s fault-lines?

Boating NZ - - From The Editor -

Like peo­ple all over the world, I thought the good folk in Can­ter­bury had shown ad­mirable and re­mark­able re­silience in not only sur­viv­ing but over­com­ing the dev­as­ta­tion from the 2011 earth­quake. Af­ter all the suf­fer­ing, the re­gion was fi­nally be­gin­ning to see the light of day – homes be­ing re­built, the re­turn of in­fra­struc­ture, a stronger heart­beat in the re­gional econ­omy.

In fact, if you’ll for­give me for be­ing fan­ci­ful, I imag­ined the story in this is­sue about the restora­tion of a fa­mous, 150-year old Christchurch tele­scope en­cap­su­lated that turn­around. A tele­scope that so nearly be­came part of the de­tri­tus of his­tory af­ter be­ing crushed in the 2011 earth­quake – but which is now be­ing lov­ingly and painstak­ingly re­stored. It will, once again, al­low view­ers to peer into and pon­der the heav­ens. And then this. I’ve no doubt the Cantabri­ans will again rise to the chal­lenge but, dear God, it’s a mon­u­men­tal chal­lenge. They will need all the help they can get – and draw on all their re­serves of steely de­ter­mi­na­tion – to start all over again.

At the risk of sound­ing mis­guided and ob­sessed with my priv­i­leged, nar­row world view, I’ve also be­gun to as­sess the im­pact of the earth­quake on the re­gion’s boat­ing – com­mer­cial and recre­ational.

How, for ex­am­ple, will Kaik­oura’s fa­mous whale-watch­ing in­dus­try func­tion if vis­i­tors can­not get into the area? How does the absence of a rail/road freight in­fra­struc­ture af­fect tourism? What is a New Zealand coast­line with­out an­glers? What kind of ac­tiv­ity will the mag­nif­i­cent Marl­bor­ough Sounds en­joy this sum­mer, if trailer boat­ies can­not get into the re­gion? Is the Clarence River likely to be off-lim­its to rafters and kayak­ers un­til fur­ther no­tice?

In­evitably, a lot of peo­ple (in­clud­ing me) will be ask­ing: why? I’ve lis­tened to the seis­mol­o­gists and scanned over the re­ports about the si­mul­ta­ne­ous lat­eral and ver­ti­cal shifts in the earth’s crust. All per­fectly lu­cid and log­i­cal – but it nev­er­the­less seems a lit­tle un­fair that Fate has se­lected the re­gion twice in fairly short or­der.

Af­ter the cir­cus that mas­quer­aded as the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, I sus­pect a lot of peo­ple will now be­gin blam­ing Mex­ico wall-builder Trump for a lot of the world’s woes. Draw­ing a line be­tween Trump in the White House and a smashed Cantabrian land­scape is be­yond the far­thest realms of ra­tio­nal thought, but hey, if it makes you feel bet­ter about ex­plain­ing life’s cru­el­ties, why not?

While you sit around with fam­ily and friends this Christ­mas and re­flect on your sta­tion in life – whether it’s good, bad or in­dif­fer­ent – spare a thought for the poor souls in North Can­ter­bury.

Lawrence Schäf­fler Ed­i­tor

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