An open letter to:
the foreign rescue teams, police officers, medics, and aid workers who have been so busy in Christchurch since February 23rd.
Saturday 5th March 2011
When the chips are down, we look to our friends for support.
Sometimes these friends are the very people that we disagree with one day but not the next or spar with because we like to argue the toss, just as they do. We can be of different political stripes, have fought each other in history, share a common heritage, live in the same part of the planet, have disagreed over a neighbourhood issue, marvel at each other’s culture, have bonds of marriage which link families between our societies;
but when all is considered, we are people.
A terrible calamity struck the core of our nation on Tuesday 22nd February 2011 when a strong earthquake brought Christchurch city to its knees after months of relentless earthquake activity.
As those of us outside the earthquake zone were coming to grips with the predicament in Canterbury, our friends overseas were already belting-up to see how they could help.
And as you arrived with all your equipment,
we clapped as you came through our airports,
we waved as you flew overhead on your important mission,
we thanked you fervently as we saw you on our television screens, working away,
we heard first-hand accounts of your bravery as we spoke to family in the disaster zone,
and the grim and grisly work was done.
Extraordinary rescues were made, risks were taken, people were snatched from fate, the lost were compassionately eased from their misery, the survivors and bereaved were succoured.
We have seen you in our newspapers and on our television screens, plastered with dust, taking risks, wiping your brows, rescuing our and your victims, and we have seen the censored images of you leaving the work sites at the end of a grim shift having seen things which we would not want to.
The work you have done in our cherished second city is much appreciated.
For many of you, the work continues, but your first contingents are leaving after a tiring ten-day stretch of duty, and the thanks must be said now.
New Zealand has played its part in our shared crises in the past, but this was our moment of need. You swiftly arrived and your expert work here has been deeply appreciated.
To you and your families who made it possible to help us when we needed it most –