Masterton was the only large town close to the epicentre of the earthquake of 24 June 1942. This account, from the Evening Post of 26 June 1942, gives a first impression of the extent of the damage.
MASTERTON'S BUSINESS AREA BADLY WRECKED
MILITARY TAKE OVER CONTROL
(By “The Post’s” Special Reporter.)
Masterton’s main street was a sorry sight yesterday. With huge piles of brick and masonry sprawling across the footpaths and roadway, shattered shop windows, and trailing high-tension lines, the condition of the mile-long thoroughfare was testimony to the intensity of the previous night’s earthquake. In the residential areas householders suffered considerable damage to property, and it appears that Masterton took the main shock. Miraculously no casualties of any sort have been reported.
It will be years before Masterton is fully restored, but in the midst of all the destruction the Masterton people are devoutly thankful that the ’quake happened when it did. Had the shake occurred during business hours nothing could have averted a repetition of the Napier tragedy.
There is a trail of damage from Featherston onward right through the Wairarapa with climax of devastation at Masterton.
There is no disruption of road traffic, though a detour has to be made at Greytown because of damage to the Waiohine Bridge, the approaches to which have cracked and sunk at either end.
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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Evening Post, 26 June 1942, p. 1
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