Story: Historic earthquakes

Page 16. Personal stories of earthquakes since 1942

‘We clutched each other for support while the shaking continued. As soon as it stopped, we ran crying all the way back to the home. This is an experience that I will never forget.’ Paul De Rungs remembers the Wairarapa earthquake of June 1942.

An earthquake is such a sudden traumatic event that it usually becomes an enduring memory. When we invited New Zealanders to send us stories of earthquakes, we were impressed at how vividly they recalled their feelings and the details of quite minor incidents.

Here is a selection of those stories of earthquakes since 1942.

What's your story?

Worse than facing the Japanese

Worse than facing the Japanese

Helen Mason was a young mother living near Carterton when the Wairarapa earthquake hit in June 1942.

Falling bombs?

Falling bombs?

In Wellington, some including Paul De Rungs believed the 1942 earthquake was the Japanese attacking.

Escape from Īnangahua

Escape from Īnangahua

On 24 May 1968, Lyn Taylor thought the world was coming to an end. But it was just the beginning of days of hard work for her husband Cliff.

Aftershock

Aftershock

People in Wellington were ‘all shook up’ by another quake in 1968, as Geoff Robinson recalls.

An enormous bang

An enormous bang

In Kawerau, an initial small shake gave Diane Brown no hint of what was to come.

Terror on the train

Terror on the train

Alan Brabender was driving a train across a viaduct when the locomotive seemed to go off the rails.

How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - Personal stories of earthquakes since 1942', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/historic-earthquakes/page-16 (accessed 15 December 2019)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2011, updated 1 Nov 2017