Lest We Forget

In the 14 years from 1929, New Zealand was relentlessly hammered by nine viciously large earthquakes and their associated aftershocks, causing major damage to infrastructure; and death, injury and personal hardship in an economy reeling from depression and the onset of war.

They were:
1929, March 9th, Arthur’s Pass, magnitude 6.9, felt over the whole country.
1929, June 16th, Buller (Murchison), magnitude 7.8, locally destructive, 17 deaths.
1931, February 3rd, Hawkes Bay, magnitude 7.8, severe regional damage, firestorms, 256 deaths.
1931, February 13th, Hawkes Bay aftershock, magnitude 7.3.
1931, May 5th, Poverty Bay, magnitude 6+, damage in Gisborne.
1932, September 16th, Wairoa, magnitude 6.8, damage in Gisborne and Wairoa.
1934, March 5th, Pahiatua, magnitude 7.6, damage in Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa, 1 death.
1942, June 24th, Southern Wairarapa, magnitude 7.0, damage in Wairarapa and Wellington.
1942, August 1st, Southern Wairarapa, magnitude 7.1, local damage.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Hawkes Bay earthquake and Napier firestorm of the 3rd of February 1931. It is a timely reminder that New Zealand has enjoyed a lengthy period free from large earthquakes close to populated areas. Logic tells us that this cannot last, and that we should plan ahead so that we can manage the effects of the next large earthquake to reduce the disruption that will surely result.

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