Friday, 18 October 2019


Poetry United Change

22 February 2011 earthquake

Change is the theme of my life as I went through quite some changes. One of them moving from the Netherlands to New Zealand and starting all over again. The biggest change was going through a major earthquake. I was lucky I lived in the “better” part of the city, as the damage we had was minor compared to the damage in the East and the people who lived on the hills. The 2010 Canterbury earthquake struck with a magnitude of 7.1 on 4 September.
I went to work asap. I worked for a charity who provided access to computers, internet etc Our computer network didn’t work, and I couldn’t reach the technicians. I called people randomly to ask for help and the support I got was amazing. Within no time the system was up and running. Many people had no electricity, so we were flooded with people to use the computer. We worked non-stop. I remember one morning heading to work. It was still quiet on the parking area. 
The after shocks kept coming and a lady looked lost walking around. I asked if she was all right. She said softly I lost my husband last year and now I lost my house. I gave her a hug and she looked startled and asked “Could I please have one again” We both smiled and moved on. That was the first hug of many.
I went inside and connected to someone from another charity in the area. Suddenly we all worked together, and we were one big force.
When home we checked up with neighbours who told us that they were so happy that all the damage they had was all material and that they were so blessed all the family was all right. That was the general theme. Connection, support, hugging, joking. It was almost a blessing in disguise. After the earthquake everything went slowly black to normal, but one thing stayed with me:

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
(Maori proverb)


  1. I loved reading this enthralling story, with its beautiful final message. A wonderful example of the positive side of a catastrophic change!

  2. Gelukkig ben je er goed uitgekomen maar zo'n ervaring blijft je altijd bij. Goed om te horen dat het de mensen dichter bij elkaar heeft gebracht en ze voor elkaar zorgen. Groeten Marianne.

  3. When people work together, they can be such a powerful force for good.

  4. Great post! Hoping things start working that way in the United States. We're still stuck in our nightmare.

  5. thank you for sharing this heart-warming post.
    people we see as strangers can bond and connect during such times.
    and i like that Maori proverb.

  6. "Almost a blessing in disguise" is a great and accurate description of change. And when we go through life like you do, remembering that the 'what' and 'how' are never as important as the 'who', we remove "almost" from the equation and make change all blessing. I love what you wrote--and believe in it, too--when the world falls to pieces, nothing brings it (and us) together as the nurturing of connection. "It's is the people", indeed.

  7. I love this story. The best of humanity comes forth in such disasters. I LOVE the Maori quote.........

  8. I've never experienced a disaster of any kind. The quote and quake is a good reminder to not let people fall through the cracks of our life!

  9. The final message gives me goosebumps as I contemplate ❤️ such a deeply poignant write!

  10. So many memories of those days. How far we have come and changed. Great proverb :)

  11. It must have been an awful experience but I can see you are very positive and can come out of it successfully.

  12. It is amazing how people come together in these catastrophes.

  13. All human beings go through a phase of suffering as well as joy love and happiness, but the best thing is to work for someones joy and comfort and to help and support in time of need. A great act of kindness and an excellent example. Thank you for sharing.
    To love Allah is to love His people.

  14. Yes … I remember well seeing the frightening images of the NZ earthquake. Such events send shivers to all who are in earthquake zones. Slowly things are put back together and people help one another. Faith in humanity is gained but a little chip of confidence is lost and we understand our vulnerabilities better.


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