Lyttelton was the epicentre or 'Ground Zero' for the quake on 22/02/2011 and the historic old port township has taken one hell of a hit. Almost every building in the port business district has suffered serious damage and almost all are 'red stickered'. Most are in such a state that they will be demolished over the coming weeks as they pose a substantial threat to the public and essential road transport access for the container terminal for supply of essential supplies arriving daily by container ship.
The RNZ Navy and Army have been absolutely brilliant and what a massive coincidence that HMNZ Canterbury with an Army Infantry Battallion Group on board was in Lyttelton at the time the quake struck. They have been everywhere providing manpower, medical support, hot meals for the community and emergency services and security for the severely damaged businesses of the port.
As far as we can ascertain no fishermen and Federation members have lost their lives but many have either suffered serious damage to their homes or have lost them totally. The boats have been out fishing and supplying fresh protein into the wider Christchurch community and the skippers and their crews are to be commended for this selfless sacrifice as their thoughts are surely for the family and friends that they have to leave at home everytime they put to sea. Catches have not been that brilliant so it appears that even the fish have had a bit of a shake up and decided to evacuate the area until things settle down!
Out of every disaster there is always some good news and for Lyttelton and the fishing community that has been the raving success of Tony Threadwell and Pegasus Fishing's new seafood restaurant 'Fishermsn's Wharf' in Lyttelton that opened last Saturday and is now serving hot seafood meals and drinks. Well done Tony and Team to get it up and running even under the most trying circumstances. Right now you couldn't be in a better position with a captive audience with you being the only restaurant type food outlet that has survived and operating in the port township. We're hearing rave reviews about the quality and freshness of the food and the fish being landed direct from Tony's fleet.
Lytteltonians are generally a hardy breed and are used to the isolation that we experience every time a major event occurs and this close knit community has come together again as it always has in the past in order to help itself. Lyttelton will rise again from the rubble to be a much better and stronger place.
Thank you to all Federation members and other participants in the NZ Seafood industry for your messages of sympathy and support and to those of you who have sent supplies of food and bottled drinking water from around the country to help us.
Pete Dawson, your Lyttelton correspondent.
'Shaken but not stirred'