A River Runs Through It

Google Earth has finally done a photo pass over Waimairi School in the 'post quake' time period. I have captured the shot (yes, yes, copyright credit to Google Maps) to post here for two important reasons.

The first is to keep a historical photo somewhere. The next time the Google photo satellite passes over things may have changed.

The second is to reveal and explain what the quakes did to a part of our school and what might need to change at Waimairi as a result.

To the right of the black arrow is the now revealed old river. Forgotten generations ago. For those familiar with post-quake Waimairi School you will be able to join the dots in your mind. As you read these bullet points let your eye move across the picture from right to left.

- The great gushing lake of liquefaction sand and water that swamped us as we stood waiting on the back field after each quake.
- The twisted doorframe and cracking in Room 14.
- The big crack up the centre of the netball courts.
- The warped hall with its dropping floor and roof line and sticking doors.

We can build over the top of mother nature, but we can't beat her.

Lucas and Associates sure showed us this with their stunning historical map/modern quake damage map overlays.

It is important to note that all buildings have had inspections and are safe for us to occupy. The question is whether or not it is economic to repair them where they are or do a bit of a site re-design. These decisions are in the hands of the Master Planners, not me as a blogging principal. Please don't read this as an announcement on the future of any of our buildings.

But if you are part of our school community do make sure you take part in the information and consultation on our site master planning that will happen in the first part of Term 3.

Included for historical record are the two black circles on the picture marking the two 20,000 litre 'poo tanks' that captured our sewerage waste when the silted up Tillman Ave sewer was out of action after the quakes. These tanks and the port-a-loos are what finally got us open again after 5 weeks of closure.

I did take an extensive collection of immediate quake damage photos of the school. They are for publication much later. We don't need to re-look at those pictures just now as our mental health recovers.


  1. And now it all makes sense. Thanks for sharing Mike, that was an interesting read. I loved browsing the historical maps too. I'm loving the possibilities for Term 3, being a meaningful way to show the children the importance of keeping records for future reference, and to show how past events shape future decisions. Nice one.

  2. Cheers Sue,

    The consummate teacher that you are, always linking ideas for the kids' learning. Lots of Term 3 scope for your kids to do photo overlays linking past to present. I can drop over and show some how to do the technique I used on this photo if relevant.

  3. That is really cool information I love it

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