Home' Greymouth Star : February 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Saturday, February 22, 2014
February 22 is Bonnie
birthday. But for the
past three years there
has been no celebration
as Ms Singh struggles
to recover from horri c injuries she
su ered while trying to run to safety
when the quake hit.
Ms Singh was working as a
receptionist at the Southern Ink tattoo
studio in February 2011. She was
sitting chatting to trainee tattoo artist
and close friend Matti McEachan
when the city started to shake.
e pair ran for the door, but Ms
Singh was hit by a slab of falling
concrete, breaking seven of her
vertebrae and leaving her unconscious.
When she came around, she managed
to drag herself through a tiny hole in
the rubble, formerly the front of the
studio, to safety.
It was then she realised Mr
McEachan had not made it. He had
been crushed by falling masonry and
ree years on Ms Singh is a
quali ed tattoo artist, working with
former Southern Ink colleagues at their
new studio, Maid of Ink.
She said her new career was all down
to Mr McEachan, who always admired
her drawings and pushed her to pick
up an ink gun.
"I've de nitely carried on inspired
by his words he left me and the
encouragement to do what I love ---
to do what he loved," she said.
"Always with him in the back of my
mind pushing me, encouraging me."
is year, for the rst time since the
quake, she wants to do something
special for her mum rather than dwell
on the tragedy.
" is year I just won't allow myself to
be back at that very day like I did the
last two years, it's too hard."
Ms Singh, mum to Ebony, seven, still
struggles with her injuries. She battles
daily pain and regular headaches, a
symptom of the severe concussion she
su ered when the slab smashed into
She said her life has changed
constantly since the quake.
"I've got my injuries and grief
that remind me something very real
happened to me. It put everything
into perspective. Now it's about what's
real and what isn't, what's worth it
and what's not and how easily life can
change. It's never still. I'm learning to
just go with it."
ree years ago Hope Asi was
planning her future with the love
of her life Je Sanft and their two
young daughters. e couple had
been through some hard times, but
reconciled just four days before the
earthquake and were planning to marry
as soon as possible.
On the day of the quake, Mr Sanft
--- the 32-year-old cousin of musicians
Scribe and Ladi 6 --- and Ms Asi
had planned to meet in the city. Ms
Asi arrived rst and texted her partner
of 11 years to ask where he was. He
responded that he was still on the bus
and for Ms Asi to wait for him.
"I received the last text at 12.47 to
say 'I'm not far' ... the quake hit and he
never made it," Ms Asi said.
"He doesn't usually bus --- he liked
After the quake, Ms Asi started
walking along the route to try to
nd the bus Mr Sanft was on. When
she couldn't see it, she went to her
daughters Hazel, then four, and Olive,
Soon after, she heard the devastating
news. e bus Mr Sanft was on, the
702, was crushed by falling bricks and
masonry in Colombo St close to the
depot where Ms Asi was waiting.
"I found out through hearing on the
radio," Ms Asi said.
A family member then told her Mr
Sanft had not survived the quake. "I
was in denial and pretty numb to it all."
She said Mr Sanft was "a true, loyal
and loving partner".
"No one's perfect, of course, but I see
now how much love he had for the
girls and I. He was de nitely a loyal
strong dad, a very hard match to nd
anywhere else in this world."
ree years on she still misses his
voice, his humour and his love.
After Mr Sanft's funeral, Ms Asi
moved their daughters to Nelson.
She is now studying for a Bachelor in
"I'm de nitely not the same person
any more (but) it's a good thing. It
has shaken my beliefs and made me
stronger, de nitely.
"Hazel is seven in March and Olive is
ve. ey are both such extraordinary
girls in their own right, they are doing
incredibly good for their age and what
they have experienced --- both happy
and humorous just like their dad."
Ron and Lyndsey
Earthquake "refugees" Ron and
Lyndsey Edwards are coming
home after three years away from
Mrs Edwards was recovering from
a stroke when the September 2010
Traumatised by the disaster, they
abandoned their broken Dallington
home and ed to Brisbane to
recuperate with family.
Not long after they returned to
Christchurch, the February quake
struck --- on Mrs Edwards' birthday.
at was the nal straw. e couple,
now in their 60s, took to the road in
the caravan they bought with insurance
proceeds, taking a traumatised
neighbour to her family in Invercargill.
Driving through Oamaru, they
called in to the local civil defence
headquarters to check for a safe seismic
site where they could settle.
"We started looking for somewhere
else to live because we didn't want to
return to Christchurch," he said.
With an insurance payout from their
red-zoned Locksley Avenue house,
Mr and Mrs Edwards signed up for
a house and land package in Oamaru
and moved in six months later.
But now the couple have put their
house on the market and are planning
a return to the shaky city as they nd
the regular three-hour trips back for
Mrs Edwards' health checks a strain.
And they long to rekindle long-
standing friendships forged in their
Richard and Mandy
Former Christchurch restaurateurs
Richard and Mandy Collins lost their
central city business in the September
e couple's Fishmongers gourmet
sh and chip shop and the at they
lived in above the business were
destroyed. By the time the February
quake hit they were living in the south
of the city.
Two major earthquakes in fairly quick
succession were enough to persuade
them to quit the city, so on February
22, 2011, the couple headed south with
daughter Bailey to stay temporarily
with family and friends in North
"We all pretty much wanted to get
out of the city and into the country,"
Mr Collins said. "We didn't want to
deal with all the aftershocks."
Cashed up with an insurance payout
from the September event, Mr Collins
saw an opportunity to get into another
business when the expired lease on
a former cafe building in the coastal
town of Kakanui, about 10 minutes
south of Oamaru, went on the market.
Well established now as a popular
eatery for locals and visitors, the Coast
Cafe and Restaurant is thriving and
the Collins family have no intentions
Sharyn Woodhouse was battling
terminal bone cancer when the quake
hit, but that did little to stop the
mother-of-three and grandmother
doing her bit to help.
Mrs Woodhouse, from Woodend just
north of the city, worked at the Inland
Revenue Department. Her o ce was
on the sixth oor of the Cashel Street
building, opposite the Canterbury
At the time Mrs Woodhouse's cancer
had ravaged her bones and muscles to
the point where steel plates had to be
inserted into her neck to allow it to
When the quake struck, a large ling
cabinet fell, pinning Mrs Woodhouse
to the oor. Somehow, she got out
from under the cabinet and made her
way down six ights of stairs.
She had earlier completed her civil
defence orange card, meaning she
trained as an urban search and rescue
And as she stepped out of her
building and saw the crumbling
remains of the collapsed CTV
building, Mrs Woodhouse got to work.
Sadly, Mrs Woodhouse lost her battle
with cancer on January 30.
At her funeral her quake e orts were
shared with mourners.
ey heard how she spent hours at
the site that day leading people rescued
from the rubble to the emergency
triage station set up at nearby Latimer
Eventually she needed her
medication, and went to her car.
Finding it in silt up to its doors, she
walked to her son's house several
Mrs Woodhouse took the next day
o and then was back at work. She
arrived at civil defence HQ at the Art
Gallery and then worked out of various
Ministry of Social Development o ces
making sure people had as much help
as she could get them, before putting
her hand up to work as an earthquake
co-ordinator under Cera and the
Canterbury Earthquake Temporary
Mrs Woodhouse worked 60-hour
weeks and often at night.
"Sharyn spent around 10 to 15 hours
a day, six days a week, sometimes
seven, planning and attending to her
households, whom she regarded as
family," her husband Greg said.
"No one was ever turned away."
Mrs Woodhouse is survived by her
adult sons Blair, Alister and Eugene
and grandsons Timothy, Corben and
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
On February 22, 2011, the city of Christchurch fell as a shallow
6.3 magnitude earthquake struck, killing 185 people, but from the
tragedy came enormous resilience and determination which continues.
Hope shines on
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Bonnie Singh was hit by a slab of falling concrete during the Christchurch earthquake.
e PGG building in Christchurch the day after the quake.
GUESS WHICH ONE CONTAINS BLEACH?
YOU MIGHT KNOW WHAT'S IN IT, BUT NOBODY ELSE WILL.
NEVER STORE HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES IN DRINK BOTTLES.
MAKE YOUR WORKPLACE A SAFE PLACE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: hazardoussubstances.govt.nz
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