Audio interviews with Lyttelton residents

The latest addition to UC CEISMIC is a collection of audio interviews with Lyttelton residents recorded after the 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 earthquakes. The project, Shaken Heart: Earthquake stories from the heart of Lyttelton, was conducted by Bettina Evans, a member of the Lyttelton Community who saw a need to preserve Lyttelton's earthquake stories.  Her interviews with local residents were published in a book, The Shaken Heart, with the support of Project Lyttelton and the Mayor's earthquake fund.

The front page of The Shaken Heart booklet

The audio files and transcripts of twenty of these interviews are now available in UC CEISMIC, with more to come.  The audio files are archived in UC QuakeStudies, and the transcripts on the Ministry of Cultural and Heritage's QuakeStories site.

Shaken Heart is the third collection of oral histories and recordings in UC CEISMIC, bringing the total number to 223. This is a huge achievement given the time and expertise it takes to record such stories, and it is only thanks to the hard work of contributors such as Bettina that we are able to add them to our archive.  Her efforts have not only helped in the immediate recovery by giving a voice to the Lyttelton community, but will be of immense value to future generations.

Along with the interviews, Bettina has also donated a collection of photographs to the archive. Taken in and around Lyttelton, these photos document the experiences of a Lyttelton resident living in a damaged town; the community spirit and can-do attitude of Lyttelton residents; and the small acts of kindness that followed the September and February earthquakes.


Lyttelton residents sewing felt hearts for Lyttelton

Particularly moving are the photos of volunteers sewing and handing out felt hearts to Lyttelton residents, workers, and business owners who helped improve life in Lyttelton after the quakes. The Lyttelton Hearts project was put together by Project Lyttelton, and encouraged people to gather on the Grassy to create hearts from scrap fabric, buttons, and other materials. The goal was to create beauty in the midst of chaos, to keep people's hands busy and their minds off the terrifying reality of the earthquakes, and simply, to give Lyttelton residents a way to meet and talk.

Lyttelton residents with felt hearts

Closest to the epicentre of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, Lyttelton has arguably been one of the hardest hit areas in Canterbury. Despite this, what resonates in these stories and these photos is the appreciation of the community spirit in Lyttelton as well as Christchurch, and the opportunities that will arise from this strength.


Creative Commons License
Photographs by Bettina Evans, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License