We are perfectly safe although that's not so for everyone.
Here's an edited copy of an email I sent to family 2 hours ago.
A few minutes after midnight we woke up in the middle of a long gently rocking earthquake. It was somewhat unnerving because it went on and on and on. I believe it lasted nearly 2 minutes and that's a long time to shake and wonder if there's going to be an unpleasant ending.
John rolled over and was asleep almost immediately. I got up to check on Jake the dog and Mac the cat. Jake rushed in and is staying as close as possible to me.
Because it was fairly gentle I didn't expect it to be a big deal in Christchurch but guessed that somewhere someone was probably having a bad time.
I began to settle when one of my nieces, Melanie, sent a text then there were phone calls. Wayne, our son, wanted to make sure we were safe and knew what to do to stay that way. neighbours came and checked as there was a tsunami warning and the sirens were going off at New Brighton although we could barely hear them even when outside. In fact that siren continues. We want to live there but hours and hours of a wailing tsunami siren is somewhat off-putting.
I quickly loaded the Earthquake Map and saw that something serious was going on in North Canterbury. Like Wayne, I could only feel sympathy for the people who have struggled with drought for the last couple or more years and now severe earthquake. News is slowly coming in of damage to roads and some people have been hurt but nearly 5 hours later and dawn approaching the news is still pretty sketchy. Roads, railway, ferries, telephone and power have all been affected so there will be plenty of frustration among travellers and with communication for many people today. Schools and some universities are closed. What is astounding is the spread of damage and yet here, in Christchurch, I feel totally safe from this particular series of earthquakes. I hope that when daylight comes and we get a more complete picture I won't find it has been a false sense of security.
People in Christchurch are pragmatic about earthquakes but there remains a great deal of fear. Anyone who has experienced severe earthquake will never be blase about them. Most of all there is concern for those who lived and work close to the epicentre. Much of the area is sparsely populated.
So it's been a weird week.Donald Trump became president of USA; We auctioned the Beach House and got our 2nd offer in 4 years; I had a few more teeth out and am on the way to having expensive dentures*, maybe in time for Christmas, and now after being left in charge of Wayne and Amanda's home and animals ugly earthquakes and tsunami warnings shake us up. As an aside to all that, on Saturday we picked up 15 eggs, which I had purchased on Trademe, to put under a clucky hen. All I need is a couple of lambs but I think we have run out of lawn for them.
We watched Grand Designs NZ on TV earlier in the evening. It now seems ironic that the featured house was built in an area we are interested in and the owner cum project manager was building with future earthquakes in mind. Just to ease your concern we won't be choosing to build on a sandhill although that turned out to be not too big a problem.
I'm still wide awake in spite of very little sleep so will close on this note. no shaking in the last 30 minutes. Not that I've felt all 25 of them thank goodness.
As I get this ready to post there have now been 38 shakes and many are close to Kaikoura a major tourist spot where whale watching is a part of the fun.
Although it's now 7am I'm going to try and get some sleep.