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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Lest We Forget

On Wednesday, 25 April 2012, we honour in remembrance members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought in Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire in World War 1 and every single brave soldier who died serving in the military for their country. However you decide to spend the day, don't forget to spare a moment for those who died for our country, or even better, brave the early morning and head out to a civic dawn service in your local community.

My memories of attending dawn services in the chilling cold all wrapped up, clutching tightly to my umbrella while singing one of my favourite hymns, Abide by Me from a rain soaked order of service are ones I am proud to have experienced. To brave the elements for that short period of time gives us a glimpse into what our soldiers so valiantly endured. To witness the marching surviving soldiers, some of them smiling with a hint of excitement in their eyes, in anticipation of catching up with old friends at the RSA for a couple of pints.  Others looking tired and frail. There was one year I wished someone had provided them with disposable clear raincoats, it wouldn't cost much to keep them dry before the second service. It's the least we could do.

I'm sure we all had a great Easter or long weekend either indulging in decadence with a good dose of chocolate eggs, attending church services or just hanging out with loved ones catching the hot sun rays.  Yes hot sun rays.  The weather forecasted for the long weekend was pretty accurate or thereabouts - yeah right!  Plus or minus a few days, they always seem to miss their forecasted target.  Wow, and what a sun-kissed long weekend it was leaving many thinking - I thought this was autumn?   

I was driving to work one morning and I heard one of the official Civil Defence announcements on talkback radio.  Extremely informative and useful information, I'm sure you've heard one.  This particular one advised the way in which a tsunami warning would be issued to the public.  A continuous warning siren sound would be heard over the radio and if you heard this - to immediately seek safety inland.  Tsunamis will occur within minutes if that and you'd basically only have enough time to instantly flee away from the swallowing water.

People with disability are highly vulnerable during these situations and just how would deaf people hear the warning announcements?  There is a captioned CD for deaf people available on preparedness at  But how would they be alerted?  And what about  people with other disabilities, how would they stay safe?  I'm sure there is a buddy system within families and communities where they would check in between buddies if there was a natural disaster.

Not to mention those who live in remote places with no cellphone tower coverage. In this day and age, there is a surprising number of places in Auckland who are without the services many of us take for granted.  How on earth would they contact others for help? Many most probably own a marine VHF radio of some sort for such emergencies. Animals can act as a natural warning of an impending natural disaster as they have senses which are tuned  into any form or sign of danger.  Helpful if you had a dog maybe, but what if you didn't...

Lets not forget 'people.'  Lets not look after some but unintentionally overlook others, not that you mean to, but we get so caught up in the bigger picture we forget the finer details, the ones that make an important lasting impression. It's like arriving in a room full of people and there are no more chairs left and they feel completely left out, overlooked. Sure you can provide them with another chair, but were they not of value in the first place to be fully prepared? If that makes sense!

Enjoy the summery weather on autumn ANZAC Day everyone.

Lest We Forget...


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Happy Autumn April

Wow.  If you thought February was freaky, check out what happened during Wild and Wilful March!  And you know I'm not just talking about the weather...

On a more serious note, the rest of February saw national acknowledgement and tribute for the anniversaries of both the Christchurch earthquake and the Japan tsunami, in remembrance of innocent lives lost in the devastation.  It was a very sad reminder of the harsh reality of natural disasters, but also a reminder that you can move forward, however difficult the future challenges.

The weather transitioned seamlessly into the month of March with a continued barrage of wild and wilful rain, wind and storms not only here in Auckland but also more dramatically in Whangarei, Northland and the capital Wellington.....though it seemed to calm at the end of the month with much needed sunshine to warm the hearts of a storm-swept population and to dry out the exhaustion - which even saw some sneak off to warmer climates for rest and recreational time off.

Today is the first day of April and daylight savings and it's almost a sense of whew, an opportunity to start a fresh month leaving all the drama of March behind with an extra hour to recharge the battery.

The aftermath of any natural disaster will leave behind phenomenal damage, some things repairable, other things beyond repair.  They say that from every adversity there is an equal or greater miracle to be experienced.  But what miracles can be drawn from such devastation?  Many would argue none.  Others may say it's the outpouring acts of humanity and compassion that people share with each other when helping and caring for others, even with complete strangers.  

Natural disasters affect everyone exactly the same.  It seems to wash away all the prejudices, meanness and selfishness that is prevalent in society.  It's that human factor that strengthens communities. It perhaps reminds you what really is important as you never know when you may need help.

There is that attitude 'if it's gonna happen, it will, there is nothing I can do about it...let it be, let it be, let it be....there isn't going to be time to flee, what's the point of preparedness.'

But what if you had time?

Whatever you decide to do with regard to preparedness for a natural disaster, it's totally up to you.  But just think, the more prepared you are, the less likely you are to rely on others perhaps?

On a better note, the weather prediction for April looks great - in fact beautiful fine weather with no rain, thunder or storms for Auckland.  Yeah right.

There's actually a tropical storm due to hit for Easter long weekend so just a heads up everyone, especially those planning to travel within New Zealand.

Happy Autumn April everyone!