Story: Historic earthquakes

Clearing the rubble

Men search for bodies in Napier. They had nothing more than shovels to work with as no earth-moving equipment was immediately available. Kenneth Spiller, speaking in this sound clip, was part of a group who attempted to rescue a woman trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building after the main tremors struck. As the fires spread towards them, he noticed how flimsily some of the buildings had been constructed.

Sound file: Kenneth Spiller, interview by Helen McConnochie for ‘Reflecting on disaster: memories of the Napier earthquake’, 1997–98 (14’12”–14’45”)

Using this item

MTG Hawke's Bay Tai Ahuriri, Hawke's Bay Museums Trust/Ruawharo Ta-u-rangi collection
Reference: 11,960

Permission of MTG Hawke’s Bay, P.O. Box 248, Napier, New Zealand must be obtained before any re-use of this image

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - The 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 May 2022)

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