I am now into my fourth day traveling and visiting in the earthquake zone. I was meant to be flying through to Kaikoura this morning but very high winds prevented this. I hope to spend the day with local Kaikoura Presbyterian minister Rev Alistair McNaughton tomorrow and I’m hoping to take the moderator of the Alpine Presbytery Rev David Coster through with me as well.
I spent yesterday with Rev Colin Price, the new LOM covering the Amuri Cooperating parish, visiting the various towns and churches under his care.
Colin is a true man of God and a real treasure and is doing a great job in his far flung parish. He has two churches out of three which are unusable and one which will be condemned.
The church at Culverdon has been disused since an engineers report some while ago and while they use the old wooden church behind this, it is really not a wonderful place to worship in. The church at Rotherham is wooden and is fine, if small, and the church at Waiau was totally destroyed by the quake and should be pulled down.
The ground has moved throughout this area by an amazing amount. Even farms where there is no apparent damage have moved sideways and upward by at least 2 metres. Much of the damage is underground and not obvious – damaged irrigation pipes and sewage systems especially around the Mt Lyford area.
Waiau township shows clear damage to buildings with the local pub condemned and many brick houses showing significant damaged especially to chimneys.
I was involved in meeting with the coordinator of the local disaster relief organisation yesterday. This has been set up in the Waiau town hall. She was an administrator plucked from the local Health Hub. Doing a marvelous job and attending to a constant stream of people who looked shocked and lost and sad. Significant frustrations are arising over applying for the various relief packages available but the staff in this place were doing a wonderful job.
I visited five local parishioners – all affected in some way and all doing their best to cope. Colin Price is performing as one would hope any local pastor could and would and we need to keep up contact with him and encourage him as best we can.
I have also made contact with Dawn Daunauda who is the Anglican priest in the cooperation parish of Awatere-Flaxmere, based in Seddon. She also is doing a marvelous job and I hope to meet her sometime this weekend if possible.
So there we have it. Our people are going a marvelous job and they simply need to hear from us and know that we are thinking of them and ready to help when called upon.
I hope this helps.
Images are those I took of the Waiau church, part of the Amuri cooperating parish, and the others come from a Facebook post in the Mt Lyford area which is just north of Waiau.