Heart­break­ing quake sto­ries inspire book


When Stephen Rush took 38 hours to get home to Kaiko¯ura from Pic­ton af­ter the Novem­ber earth­quake he re­alised he had a story to tell, and that there were many oth­ers as well.

That’s what prompted the ship’s of­fi­cer and part-time writer to put to­gether and pub­lish Kaiko¯ura 7.8 Per­sonal Ac­counts of Those Who Were There.

The ship’s cap­tain was just pulling into Pic­ton on the In­ter­is­lander Cook Strait ferry when the earth­quake struck just af­ter mid­night. The ship spent many hours an­chored off­shore be­fore it docked. Rush then had to find a way home to Kaiko¯ura.

Af­ter driv­ing the long coastal route to Nel­son be­cause the road out of Pic­ton was closed, he spent the night stranded there be­fore even­tu­ally get­ting a seat in a small four-seater air­craft.

‘‘The trip home was tur­bu­lent and a fright­en­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on it’s own,’’ he said. es­cape paths away from an im­mi­nent tsunami, liv­ing in cars for days af­ter, and the Great Wall of Wa­iau, where a fault­line ripped across the land­scape.’’

He said the book fo­cused on a wide range of ex­pe­ri­ences and how peo­ple were af­fected by it.

‘‘It also high­lights it wasn’t just Kaiko¯ura, but how the tragedy af­fected Wa­iau near the epi- cen­tre.’’

Rush said one story from Mt Ly­ford broke his heart, of a cou­ple whose lives were saved by their bed, when the bed snapped in half down the cen­tre.

‘‘As it broke and they rolled into the mid­dle and the win­dows broke and show­ered the bed­room with shards of glass.

‘‘They were quite lucky, but their beau­ti­ful home was to­tally de­stroyed - it was heart­break­ing.’’

Although Rush fin­ished the book in three months he said the $25,000 he had to put up to get it pub­lished was too steep so he chose to do it him­self though lulu.com.

Although the down­side was he had to buy ev­ery copy to on­sell.

Rush won’t make any profit from the book.

Ev­ery­thing goes back to the Kaiko¯ura com­mu­nity sup­port­ing the Kaiko¯ura Ve­hi­cle Trust, Inspire Kaiko¯ura, and Kaiko¯ura Youth Coun­cil.

The book re­tails for $35. To or­der a copy con­tact Stephen Rush, (029) 653 3278 or email cap­tain­pug­wash@hot­mail.co.nz.


Au­thor of Kaiko¯ura 7.8 Per­sonal Ac­counts of Those Who Were There, Stephen Rush.

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