With the help of Graham “Bookman” Beattie, we’ve launched an open invitation for writers from around New Zealand to send us words for Christchurch. The first piece – received minutes after the invitation was offered – is from Paula Green, a West Auckland poet, children’s author and reviewer.
We feel far away
Someone is watching a movie and someone is choosing sushi
Someone is leaving a building and someone is in a phone booth
Someone is picking a library book and someone is baking bread
Someone is making love and someone is poaching eggs
Someone is drinking coffee and someone is drinking tea
Someone is listening to an iPod and someone is digging weeds
Someone is asking for forgiveness and someone is saying yes
Someone is holding her baby and someone is on the point of death
We feel far away and helpless
There are pictures of buildings falling and pictures of broken signs
There are pictures of cracked roads and pictures of papers flying
There are pictures of houses split in two and pictures of rising silt
There are pictures of colossal boulders and pictures of the miracles
There are pictures of teams searching and pictures of the cathedral
There are pictures of the walking dazed and pictures of the inconceivable
There are pictures of bloodstained faces and pictures of strained limbs
There are pictures of survivors weeping and pictures of hope undimmed
Helpless, we feel helpless
There is the sound of thumping hearts and the sound of rumbling ground
There is the sound of car alarms and the sound of someone found
There is the sound of china smashing and the sound of fires raging
There is the sound of phones unanswered and the sound of those afraid
There is the sound of reporters speechless and the sound of stories told
There is the sound of walls slumping and the sound of a further jolt
There is the sound of sirens shrieking and the sound of names listed
There is the sound of the mayor’s updates and the sound of labour gifted
A second round of community briefings has now been scheduled from Monday, 21 March. The briefings will provide an earthquake recovery update, local information and an opportunity to ask questions on an informal one-to-one basis.
Today is Race Relations Day.
This year Mother Nature has unfortunately put a stop to those events such as the Lantern Festival and Culture Galore which celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community. However now more than ever it’s important to remember the many cultures which call New Zealand home, and support each other.
If your neighbours or colleagues are new to Christchurch or have difficulty understanding English, you can help them get the information they need.
Here are some useful resources:
- Translations of Canterbury Earthquake FAQs – including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Maori, Russian, Samoan, Thai and Tongan.
- New migrants having difficulty finding support locally can call 0800 776 948 Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visa and passport information from Immigration New Zealand for those affected by the earthquake.
- Language Line is a telephone interpreting service available on request in 41 languages. Over 70 agencies use Language Line, including the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Labour, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Christchurch City Council.
- Access Internet Radio gives access to a range of audio clips to assist migrant communities receive quake-related information. The clips have been translated and voiced by volunteer broadcasters from community radio stations around the country.
- Read more about Race relations day and the Human Rights Commission on the library website
And for an inspiring look at the way in which Asian communities have been helping Christchurch in the recovery effort, Asia Downunder had a nice segment on its programme of 20 March, which you can watch at TVNZ Ondemand.
Two events are being held this week by Christchurch City Libraries to celebrate New Zealand Book Month. Why not get out of the house for a bit and enjoy some fun and some company?