A big hand for Avonside


The silt-shovelling team taking a lunchbreak on Avonside Drive a couple of weekends ago.

A huge team of volunteers, initially university students, combed Christchurch after the 4 Sept earthquake, helping out where they could.

On the weekend of 25-26 September they were working hard in Avonside.  There was much to do.  Properties were overwhelmed with layers of silt that had burst out from underground under the forces of liquefaction.

I met folk from all over town, from suburbs such as Fendalton, who simply heard the appeal on a radio station and turned up to lend a hand.

Sam Johnson was a highly effective coordinator.   During a time when he should have been campaigning in west Christchurch as part of the community board election campaign, he instead was selflessly coordinating teams all over Christchurch.

With rumours that the sewage contamination in the silt was “off the scale”, the workers were potentially putting themselves at some risk.  Especially as a week of dry Nor’Westers meant the silt had dried out and was blowing around.  Fortunately Sam and the team were on the ball and distributing dust masks to helpers.