Writing has been impossible this past week.
The scenes of devastation and the loss of life are appalling. Like all New Zealanders where ever we are at home or abroad share the same sense of helplessness.
What can we do...just donating money seems such a puerile gesture and yet donating is the most practical way we can help. Christchurch certainly can't cope with the influx of every NZer arriving to help.
Yesterday the nation paused for two minutes to honour the dead and the rescue workers. In our small town of Katikati that time was surreal. SH2 was closed because a petrol tanker had overturned. There was little traffic and cars pulled over. The town crier tolled the bell. The hush that descended was broken only by the mournful tolling of the bell.
It was a town united. Shop and bank doors closed and shoppers and shop workers alike took the time to remember...and in my case be very very grateful it wasn't our town devastated by an earthquake.
The Bay of Plenty has had many grim experiences with earthquakes in the past. The most recent the devastating Edgecumbe quake of 1986.
And I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that there but for the Grace of God go I.
All New Zealanders live with the risk of earthquake or volcanic eruption. It is a risk that balances the enjoyment of living in our green and pleasant land.
But when an earthquake strikes knowing the risk does little to lessen the impact.
Kia kaha Christchurch