The helping spirit

One beautiful thing to come out of disasters is the survivor's stories. The Hawke's Bay earthquake reminds us of the people who picked themselves up, brushed themselves off and went to help others.

When the nurses' home in the photo above collapsed, the nurses (if they were able) assisted survivors and then went on to help out on hospital sites around the city.

Miss Emma King, a Red Cross member, was on the second floor of her hairdressing salon when the quake hit. When the shaking stopped, she calmly walked down what remained of the stairs and reported for duty at her local Red Cross.

One of the staff at Hastings Red Cross branch was injured in the quake, but once she had been seen by a medic, reported for duty and worked 17 hours a day. The young lady was trapped underneath a beam in a collapsed building. The beam was sawed through in order to free her. She sustained a severe wound over the eye in the accident. Her shorthand-typing and clerical skills made her an invaluable volunteer.

Miss Emma King. Geneva Connection.

Feature photo: Ruins of the nurses' home in Napier after the 1931 earthquake. Pickering E, fl 1977: Photographs of the Napier earthquake. Ref: 1/2-002951-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.