What we do
Ā mātau mahi
- Recent stories
- Building lasting connections through Meals on Wheels
- Global support saves lives as India battles second COVID-19 wave
- Meals on Wheels: 70 years of love and care across Aotearoa
- Volunteers: Red Cross’ most important and unique asset
- Red Cross responds to weather events across the North Island
- See all stories
Shop with us
Nau mai, hoko atu
- Get involved Donate
Marlborough New Zealand Red Cross branch president Lynette Jones sighs as she sinks into a chair at the Blenheim service centre.
"It's been a big few months," she states, glancing across with a half-smile.
That's quite the understatement. Since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that shook central New Zealand on 14 November 2016, the small band of staff and volunteers in Marlborough have had to balance their business-as-usual activities with recovery operations.
On top of that, Lynette's son and his family live in the township of Seddon and have been badly affected by the incessant shaking in the area.
"Their home is white stickered, so it's repairable and can be occupied, but the whole thing was shunted off its piles by the November 14 earthquake," she explains. "The damage is much worse than what the 2013 earthquake caused."
Immediately after the November earthquake Lynette's first priority was the welfare of her family; her son, his wife and children stayed with her for a few nights.
The week that followed was a blur of phone calls, providing meals, rosters, setting up drop-in centres in Blenheim and Seddon, and helping at the emergency operations centre in Ward.
Considering the limited resources the Marlborough branch has, Lynette is very pleased with how they pulled together and the enthusiasm of the members and volunteers.
"We were asked to go out and cover Ward, and we have a member here, a darling 86-year-old, who put her hand up to help," she recalls. "She told me afterward 'I did have to go bed early that night, but it was a privilege to do something to help'. That was pretty special."
Now, three months on, Lynette says they're beginning to get an idea of what the Marlborough recovery will look like. The Blenheim service centre is holding a fornightly drop-in centre in Seddon to provide information about the Red Cross Damaged Home Grant and provide a listening ear for those who need someone to talk to.
"Seddon has a higher population and probably a higher level of need than the likes of Ward," she explains. "Each big rattle strips the nerves and contributes to the ongoing damage to property.
"After the 2013 earthquake I watched my son's family's recovery journey, and quite frankly, it's the cliché 'time will get them through'. When the memories fade a little, when the shaking stops and a bit of confidence comes back… it's been very insightful for me to have this happen so close to home. It makes the Marlborough recovery a lot more personal."