Christchurch New Zealand Earthquake Update

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Last Updated (Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:35)


Earthquake Update – 6

It has been over two months since my last update on where things are at with Christchurch – both the YMCA and the city overall – in the midst of all the craziness and upheaval. Ten months after our first big unexpected earthquake in September last year, it seems that we are starting to adjust to the reality that things will not be „the same‟ again in our communities for many years to come.

I personally continue to be struck by the differences between opposite ends of the city... For a city very small on a world scale, it is surprising that the level of impact these earthquakes have had on different suburbs is vastly variable. One half of Christchurch is barely touched, in terms of damage. The other is in a state of utter devastation, continuing to battle liquefaction, a lack of utilities, damaged roads, unreliable water and power supplies. The hill suburbs of Christchurch are particularly frightening, with large cliff faces and boulders poised to fall hundreds of metres at the next quake. The flat seaside eastern parts of town are slowly sinking – the residents of these areas most frequently seen in our media bemoaning the slow bureaucratic process that is our Earthquake Commission and the insurers as they ummm and aaahhh about how to address the massive infrastructure problems that now exist. The latest talk around the water fountain at work is what „zone. your house is in – Red, Orange, Green or White. Orange and White continue to be completely uncertain about the future of their homes, and this gives insurers a good excuse to delay any action. Red owners wish they were Green, Green wish they were Red – and so forth.

Coming back to the YMCA challenges, I am therefore very cognisant of the need to be aware of the personal circumstances firstly of our staff, and secondly of our members and participants. In the case of staff, if I hark back to May and early June, I would describe morale as generally low. I think it was in May that it became very apparent to us all that there was to be no quick fix of the problems facing Christchurch. The weather was getting colder, and people living in damaged homes and streets realised that this was probably going to be the reality for the whole of winter. I think also everyone was getting tired. Commentators in the media talked about the phase of „disillusionment. that Cantabrians were entering at that time – and I observed it first hand all around me. At work it was hard in those days to go a day without consoling someone who had broken down in tears. I find myself crying for ridiculous reasons, and yet feeling strangely unmoved when others are clearly desperately upset. It has been a weird mood in Christchurch overlaid always with the need to “get on with it” and “be thankful for what we have.”

Anyway, it is now late June, and my feeling is that the mood is now lifting. I have no idea why this is (especially considering we had a further series of large earthquakes on June 13th which wielded yet more damage), other than to say that human beings are amazingly resilient creatures. We have had a mope for a while and now we are back into getting on with the new „truth.: that these earthquakes are likely to keep on coming for a while yet, and that the „fix. is going to take many years.

The YMCA team are getting on with business as usual – but we have also chucked out large chunks of our strategic plan and are focusing instead on our mission, purpose and values. Thanks to the very generous (endlessly humbling) donations from our international YMCA family, we are also able to jump into action on so many community initiatives without the stress and worry of adding to our significant financial challenges. (We, like everyone else, continue to have slow, prolonged and somewhat unsatisfactory conversations with our insurers). A specific update on what we have been doing with those funds will be released in the next week – but in short I can tell you seen 100.s of children, young people and their parents enjoy family camps at Wainui, 1000.s of children engaged in recreational activities in their local neighbourhoods, worked with many many schools with 100.s more children, and have subsidised a lot of children/adults/families to continue their involvement with Y programmes despite redundancies etc, and done a number of things for our staff team... Without this funding none of this would have been possible.

My last word goes out to Nelson YMCA who have today volunteered to fund our staff party this Friday – a party which was to celebrate the moving back into the City Y, but which has unfortunately been postponed due to the earthquakes on June 13th. Seemed mean not to have the party though! Any excuse to have a party! Thanks again to Nelson YMCA, and all the rest of you who are out there sending us your love and prayers.

Josie Ogden Schroeder
Chief Executive Officer


To: National General Secretaries

c.c.: Executive Committee Members, APAY Officers, World Alliance of YMCAs,

World Alliance Executives, Area Executives, Y'Care Intl, Related Persons


Subject: Appeal for Support – Christchurch Earthquake


Dear NGS and friends of the APAY and World YMCAs,

Here I received the message form Ric, NGS of New Zealand movement. There are still many people under the building. The YMCA in Christchurch has a big damage in its building and many staff I believe experienced the two big earthquakes and felt discouraged.


We’ve sent the appeal for request on February 24 for a special consideration to the YMCA for their reconstruction of the damaged buildings.



Kindly indicate your pledge of support that should be send to the following APAY account:


A/C Name: Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

Bank’s Name: Bank of East Asia

Account Number: 015-515-20-050045

Swift Code: BEASHKHH


Thank you and we keep praying for the victims and their families.


Kohei Yamada

General Secretary, APAY

Christchurch Earthquake Update

Information from Ms. Josie Ogden Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer, YMCA Christchurch

March 21st 2011


Well its been a long time since my last update - we've been busy here at the Y but the status quo for
us is only really just starting to change...
It is with much sympathy and aroha that we extend our thoughts and prayers to the members and
staff of the Y who have lost a family member or friend due to the earthquake. There are no words
that will ever suffice in this situation. All I can say is that we all mourn with you, and we can only but
determine to ensure the memory of those lost serve as a constant reminder as to what is important
and what we, as a community, need to be focused on for the future.

We are focused on doing the best we can for our staff, members, participants and guests... and a
key part of this is timely information, restoration of services, and invention of a few new ones that
are now relevant... We have begun working with schools and their students to provide some
support to students who are either sharing a school with another or who are simply a bit 'jumpy' to
be back at school and away from home. This week a team of outdoor staff are providing fun and
laughter for the young children at Cashmere Primary School. There are many schools on the list!
We are also working on family camps for the communities on the East side of Christchurch who are
still lacking homes/schools/etc - any enquiries about these initiatives don't hesitate to call.
Our site updates today as follows:

City Y Accommodation - travellers/guests: Sorry we are still closed until we have repaired flood
damage. We hope to open our accommodation hostel by Mid May. We are hamstrung by the time
it takes to get in contractors and carpet supplies etc. If you were staying with us when the
earthquake hit, have returned overseas, and have personal belongings left in your room you should
have been contacted by now about how these will be returned to you. If not please email us as soon
as you can on  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it so we can get your gear returned.

City Y Student Accomodation: We remain closed until we can repair the foyer area at the City Y.
We hope to have re-opened in time for Term 2 (Easter Break). In the meantime, we are providing
accommodation for students at Wainui Park with a daily shuttle service to and from town provided
free of charge. Please contact us for more information about that if you would like to partake. E:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

City Y Williams House Accommodation: We remain closed until the foyer area at the City Y can be
be repaired. We are hoping for re-opening around Easter time. Please keep an eye on the website
for more info and register your interest in a room by emailing  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phoning
Jude or Kath on 03 3660689.

City Y Health & Fitness: We remain closed until the foyer area at the City Y can be repaired. We
hope to be open by Easter break! (Muscle People and Robert Harris too)!
City Y Climbing Wall: We remain closed until the foyer area at the City Y can be repaired and the
climbing wall is deemed structurally sound by a height engineer. Again, we are aiming for Easter

Bishopdale YMCA - All Activities: Open for business as per usual! Come and join us for Gym
memberships, Group Fitness Classes, Youth basketball, gymnastics and dance, licenced pre-school..
some (limited) hire of stadium available too Ph: Kris on 359 8320

Bishopdale Preschool - Open for business as per usual. Full Licenced. Free 20 hours ECE. Some part
time and full time vacancies available in the preschool and in the nursery. Ph: Di or Sarah on 359

Education - Youth Training: Open for learning at 888 Colombo Street from Tuesday March 22nd.
Hip Hip Hooray. The centre on Colombo Street is good to go and has been checked structurally by
two engineers. Ph: 377 2174 for information if you haven't heard from your tutor.

Education - Alternative Education: The venue at the City Y will not be available until Term 2
(probably). We are keen to return to this venue however, and will be aiming for this! In the
meantime, we are going to accommodation Alternative Education Students at 888 Colombo Street
from Tuesday March 22nd. Ph; 377 2174 for information if you haven't heard from your tutor.

Wainui Park: Open for business as per usual. We have had a lot of cancellations from schools for
obvious reasons.. therefore, peak season we have unusually lots of vacancies.. perfect for a
corporate re-focusing retreat... or a school camp to get your class fired up or an intensive schoolwork
catch up session! Ph: 03 304 8460

Youth & Outdoors: Open for business albeit slightly differently too before... operating from
Bishopdale YMCA please send enquiries for Education Outside the Classroom options to
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Ginny or Dave on 359 8320

Holiday Programmes: All April Programmes (including Wainui Camp) will be going ahead this April
holidays. Some venues may be changed due to earthquake issues/accessibility. Register online at or come in and register in person at Bishopdale Y,
Bishopdale Mall (Farrington Ave).

HOT NEWS - The YMCA of Christchurch is very grateful to More FM and MTA for the car we won
today! This is awesome and will be used by our Partnership Manager to get around the many
schools and Church groups he is working with at the moment...

Thanks again to everyone who is continuing to support the YMCA - as we work hard to build strong
people, strong families, and now, more than ever, strong communities...




The followings are message I received today from Ric, NGS New Zealand:


Good Morning. Here is the latest update from Josie Ogden Schroeder, CEO of YMCA

Christchurch. I finally managed to talk with Josie last night. She sounded upbeat and has

to remain like that for her staff. However, she is obviously working very long hours.


If you have been following the regular updates, you will have a sense that things are very

difficult and uncertain for Christchurch YMCA and it is for that reason we are grateful

for the pledges of financial support. Christchurch will need funds. Under Josie, one

centre is now running and they are having staff do more "outreach" type activities - such

as adventure based learning in schools. Most of the administrative staff have set up

shop in the Bishopdale centre (2 basket ball courts, squash courts, community rooms,

fitness gym, aerobics, childcare centre, physiotherapist) which itself was damaged but is

clearly able to function. They hope to have their camp up and running very soon. The

big unknowns are still the two centres located within the cordon. One is their main centre

(and Josie talks about that in this update) and the other is the Education Centre.

We are treading a fine line between showing that additional support is needed, and

reassuring the Christchurch staff (who also read the updates, of course) that the Y will rebuild

and will get back to normal as quickly as possible.


As I have said before, we are grateful for the support our friends have provided us. We

have received many messages of solidarity and they are most appreciated. But, to be

blunt, some cash to help Christchurch meet its bills and especially pays its staff, when

revenue is well down, is what is really needed. Kohei and Peter have both launched

appeals in APAY and Australia respectively and I cannot begin to express how much

Josie and I appreciate this.


Please do pass this on to others as you see fit and bring attention to the updates on our

website and Facebook page where there are details as to how donations may be made.

Our Facebook page is accessible via our website as is the YMCA

Christchurch website where Josie also posts regular updates.


Thanks again, friends


Ric Odom

National Chief Executive Officer

YMCA New Zealand

Ph: ++64-4-568 9622

Fax: ++64-4-568 9623

Mob: 0274 811 300

The following is the Earthquake Appeal for support sent on February 24:


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Further to my e-mail yesterday, I received another update from Ric Odom and here we

share the latest information from Ms. Josie Ogden Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer,

Christhurch YMCA. She has informed that the staffs of the YMCA are safe and unhurt

though some of their homes/families are affected. The facilities of the YMCA are all

closed as these have suffered considerable damages.


Both Ric and Josie expressed that there is still much uncertainty and still too soon to have

a coherent plan in place. The scale of the repair is massive and the psychological state of

the comuunity is worrying. They both want to thank once again all of you for your

solidarity in this darkest time of New Zealand.


In view of the urgency and anticipation of the need for support, we would like to make

this initial appeal for financial support for assistance and possible relief-rehabilitation



Kindly indicate your pledge of support that should be sent to the APAY account.


With much thanks and appreciation,


Kind regards,


Kohei Yamada

General Secretary

Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

encl: Chrischurch YMCA update


Updated on February 23, 2011


Subject: Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


This is the latest information that we’ve received from Ric Odom, CEO of YMCA New Zealand. He has likewise posted some updates on their Facebook page (!/YMCANewZealand) and you may visit for latest information, as communication in Christchurch is still difficult and sporadic at this time.


We will keep you posted and plans the NCY may have for the affected including the YMCAs and request for appeal as necessary.


Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

With best regards,


Kohei Yamada
General Secretary



E-mails from Ric Odom, CEO, YMCA New Zealand


Feb 23, 2011 ~

Thanks. I've updated our Facebook page. Josie (CEO of YMCA Christchurch) made contact a short while ago. The YMCA staff and hostel tenants are safe but all have been evacuated. The YMCA facility in the city - which includes the hostel, has suffered significant damage. The camp was full but is in the process of being evacuated. All the Christchurch YMCA centres are closed and there is no way of knowing when they may re-open. Josie thinks it could be weeks or perhaps even months. Much of this depends on the extent of the damage and of course the premises will need to be inspected by engineers. Given the damage you have all seen, this could take some time.


It is too early to determine the financial impact on YMCA Christchurch but it will be severe. They will lose income for some time but will still have outgoings (such as staff salaries). They are insured but how this will be handled is too early to say. Remember this Y was still trying to recover from the losses sustained from the September 2010 earthquake.


Feb 22, 2011 ~

Good Evening. No doubt you are up to date with what is happening in general terms from the news. Early this afternoon, a shallow 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch City.

You may recall an earthquake greater than 7 struck Christchurch last September and there had been well over a thousand aftershocks since. While there was extensive damage to buildings then and since, there had been no casualties. Todays earthquake was much worse – and there continue to be aftershocks.


As of now, I can tell you there has been extensive damage throughout the city with several buildings either destroyed or severely damaged. The death toll currently stands at 65 but is expected to rise as search and rescue teams work to enter damaged buildings.


The Christchurch main hospital is functioning and several triage centres and field hospitals have been set up in the city. Many hospitals throughout the country have cancelled elective surgery and discharged those patients who can safely be discharged in anticipation of receiving casualties form Christchurch. The city’s emergency services are stretched but reinforcements of police, fire, ambulance (including rescue helicopters) and search and rescue teams are on the way. I understand search and rescue teams are also on their way from Australia. The military has also been sent to the scene to help with establishing cordons and providing medical and logistics support. The international airport is closed.

Communications are limited, power is out throughout much of the city and water and sewerage is disrupted. A state of emergency has been declared. I received one text message from the CEO of YMCA Christchurch, Josie Ogden Shroeder, but have no information on the state of the YMCA. Of some comfort (I hope) is that the main YMCA and hostel was designed to withstand an earthquake of much greater magnitude and survived the September earthquake with little damage. The relatively new Bishopdale centre may be a different story but I have no information on that.


We have a Senior Managers meeting scheduled for the next two days but if I have anything more to pass on, I will try to do that.


Ric Odom
Chief Executive Officer
YMCA New Zealand
Ph: + 64 4 568 9622 (568 YMCA)
Fax: + 64 4 568 9623
Mob: (0274) 811 300
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