As the anniversary to the February 22nd Christchurch earthquake approaches, and Christchurch and the rest of the world are reminded of the terrible events of that day four years ago, University of Canterbury Professor Paul Millar believes it’s never been more important to focus on preserving the record of what Canterbury has been through.
He says that the hundreds of thousands of items already collected by the University of Canterbury’s CEISMIC Canterbury Earthquake Digital Archive are just a small part of what needs to be preserved.
CEISMIC is digitally preserving the memories, experiences and knowledge of people of the Canterbury region by building a broad range of earthquake-related research material, gathered by leading New Zealand organisations.
The documents, images and datasets have been created by academia, local and central government, and community and commercial organisations.
"In the last year CEISMIC has collected 120,000 new items and made available a number of major archives including material from Gap Filler, the eight books of Garth Galloway’s Earthquake Recovery Pledge, Geology research material by academics, material relating to the SPCA’s earthquake response, creative writing by members of the South Island Writers’ Association in response to the earthquakes,” Millar says.
”We have also added thousands of new items to existing collections, such as the archives of The Press and Christchurch Star newspapers,” he says. “For all our hard work the job of recording the impact of the quakes is not even partly finished yet.”
Miller explains, “As intended, our collections are informing and underpinning an increasing range of commemoration, teaching and research activities. But there is still so much more we can do with even a small amount of support.
“If a single other community dealing with a disaster benefits from the lessons we have learned, then everyone who has supported CEISMIC, whether by joining with us, donating content, sponsoring our work, or simply telling their own stories, deservedly shares in one good thing to come out of such a major event,” he says.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington is featuring 47 earthquake images sourced from CEISMIC that are about to open in a new exhibition to commemorate the earthquakes.