Photo credit: Deon Swiggs, Rebuild Christchurch

Five years today. The person at the end of the EQC call centre phone line asked, ‘is the damage to your house minor, moderate or major?’ Our response – ‘how are we to know; it didn’t look like this yesterday.’

Back then when we were looking at broken houses, streets and businesses and trying to figure out how long this was going to take to fix, we never expected to still be wondering the same thing five years later. We had a lot of energy for action and good kiwi ‘number 8 wire’ ideas for solving the problems in our neighbourhoods. Unfortunately we also had a lot of 0800 numbers, useless systems, and overwhelmed and under-prepared organisations calling the shots.

These were frustrating days but out of the frustration came a call for community-led action and out of that action came CanCERN. One of our founding members, Tom McBrearty from hard hit River Road told the early CanCERN story eloquently in the Civil Defence magazine, TEPHRA. We have republished it in this newsletter in acknowledgement of all those people who have been part of or supported CanCERN over the last five years.