“I have lived here for 38 years. I thought nothing has ever happened and probably nothing will,” she says.

Little did she know she would soon be helping out as a Red Cross volunteer after a massive earthquake.

Kaikoura, along with large parts of Marlborough, Canterbury and Wellington, was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November 2016. The quake damaged roads, destroyed homes and lifted the seabed several metres.

When Christine’s home, located 10km north of Kaikoura township, began to shake, everything fell over. However, her house sustained little damage so, the next day, Christine went to see if there was something she could do to help others in her community.

She joined a group of New Zealand Red Cross volunteers and assisted with evacuating tourists, processing grants and door knocking.

“The local members of Red Cross stepped up really well. They were pleased to have some extra volunteers and I was lucky to be in a situation to be able to help. I found it helpful to have something constructive to do. What impressed me most was the amazing teamwork.”

Christine also found the outreach work – knocking on people’s doors to make sure they were holding up OK – rewarding.

“It really brought home how fortunate we were because we had so little damage ourselves and driving along the road, you don’t notice it so much. Some people we met going door-to-door were really overwhelmed. They were really grateful for the door knocking.”

Christine has since completed a psychological first aid course through New Zealand Red Cross. She also plans to do a first aid course and is keen to continue her involvement with Red Cross.

“It’s such a worthwhile organisation to be part of,” she says.

New Zealand Red Cross teams were among the first responders on the ground in Kaikoura, Marlborough and Canterbury on 14 November. Red Cross continues to work with affected communities and has so far distributed more than 350 grants to help people repair homes damaged by the quake.