Arrived in New Zealand last Tuesday from Jakarta for Ruia and Gavin's wedding at Hamner Springs on Friday.
It's ll a.m. on Sunday morning and the big wave generated by the Chilean Tsunami is beginning to hit the East Coast of the North Island and eastern parts of the South Island of New Zealand. Not far from where I am living in Christchurch, waves of up to 3 metres are expected to hit Bank's Peninsula in a few minutes. Large tsunamis affected this part of the NZ coastline twice in the last part of the 19th century, and again in early 20th century.
It's ironical that after working for five years on the Indian Ocean Tsunami, I come home for a break from Tsunami, and a Tsunami lashes New Zealand.
I just spoke to Peter Cameron , who is the regional Manager for Civil defence New Zealand's, South Island. Peter worked with me in 2006 and 2007 in Indonesia on the Tsunami operation so is no stranger to these disasters. He said the tsunami warning system has worked well and he hopes people " will not be tempted to go back to the coastline to have a look."
As I write, the main wave has hit the North Island and it seems from initial reports, it hasn't done much damage.
Ablai and I arrived in Christchurch last Tuesday and travelled to Hamner Springs on Thursday. I have great memories of Hamner where Harry Ayres and Mick Bowie, two of NZ's great mountain guides, retired to. Bob and Ablai, ready for the wedding
Ruia and Gav's wedding went really well and was a great family reunion. We also had a the French women's weightlifting team here, and a Christian Jazz festival in Hamner springs which added further sparkle.
What I have enjoyed very much during the wedding process, is meeting Gavin and Ruia's friends. They are strong and determined farming stock mainly from Southland and Otago. Typical is Gavin's best man, Richard, a giant of a fellow, who farms 35,000 stock units, which includes 30,000 sheep. I also found out that his wife, is the sister of the Southland Ranfurly shield captain, and All Black Jamie MacIntosh.
Richard and his mates put on a massive BBQ yesterday after the wedding, and we had the best lamb, beef and venison available in NZ. And as we drank Speight's Beer and ate delicious food, a Christian Jazz group played superb music next door. Unfortunately the French Women's weightlifting team never turned up, and I am sure they knew they would have been out lifted by these strong, frisky NZ farming lads, or spiritually uplifted by the Christian Jazz groups.
I have gotta run. Heading for Christchurch where we are going to watch the T 20 match between NZ and Oz, hen to Otipua (near Timaru) where Jonts and Anita have a farmlet. Hopefully from there to Mt Cook to take Ablai up the Tasman Glacier and introduce him to the Southern Alps. When we flew over the Alps last Tuesday near Arthur's Pass, Ablai exclaimed " Can we see more of those mountains Dad?" I have a promise to keep !