Council reps help out with quake aftermath
South Waikato District Council staff were quick to help during the recent South Island earthquake recovery mission.
Civil defence emergency manager Ian Wellings, building control manager Kevin Duthie, and group regulatory manager Sharon Robinson all flew down South in early December to help with the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude quake which caused wide destruction.
Both Wellings and Robinson were stationed in Kaikoura while Duthie was stationed in the Hurunui District.
‘‘It was a pleasure to go down and help our colleagues. We were on standby from day one, we offered our support straight away, because we know when an emergency happens in our district we are going to need help fast,’’ Robinson said.
She said her and Wellings worked 12 hour shifts in planning and intel.
‘‘[We worked] a bit longer when necessary but it didn’t seem to be an issue. Everyone was there to help each other,’’ she said.
‘‘Our role was to create plans for the rest of the emergency operation centre to implement and Ian had to provide a situation report to control everyday so he did really well.’’
Duthie said his role was to relieve the existing building manager in the isolated Hurunui District doing safety inspections on all buildings.
‘‘They were very appreciative and were neat people,’’ he said.
‘‘It worked really really well. It was the same size council as ours and they had the same computer system so I could go straight in and run with it.’’
Robinson said it was the rural areas which were hardest hit by the quake.
‘‘National Civil Defence organised all the logistics of getting us there. We flew in in a helicopter from Christchurch Airport and landed in a rugby field,’’ she said.
‘‘If you are walking along the main area of Kaikoura you can’t necessarily see a lot of damage. There are a couple of buildings that have been taped off but it is difficult to see the real damage which is out in the rural environment.’’
She said they were stationed in Kaikoura’s new council building which fared well in the quake.
‘‘Every time there was a new earthquake people would run out and watch the dust move of the hills with the new slips so that was quite spectacular,’’ she said.