There’s an article in the New Zealand Herald about the exodus from Christchurch after the earthquake that explains the sense of exposure and dislocation I was trying to describe a couple of days ago in one apposite phrase – ‘reality rip.’ Exactly.
Frayed nerves from quake victims were obvious to see, according to Andrew Miller, assistant manager of Clear Ridge Apartments at Hanmer. The pools were packed and lifeguards he had spoken to described people as being “short-fused”. Locals did not take it to heart as they realised the stress people were under.
That stress is also what might force people out of the city for good.
University of Auckland head of sociology Dr Tracey McIntosh is expecting Canterbury’s population to decline and people might even leave New Zealand.
“People have experienced what is known as a reality rip, where everything we are confident and secure about is suddenly ripped open and unsettled – it makes us wonder what we can count on.”
She said some people would be resilient and prepared to invest back into the region but others would say “enough’s enough” and decide it wasn’t worth it.
“People will want to move themselves away from a sense of ongoing trauma – the visual and aural triggers which remind us of the event. Some may look at moving to other parts of New Zealand but others will want a complete break.” Australia was the logical destination.