A decade on, tragedy of Christchurch earthquake still an aching pain for the White Ferns


Tuesday. February 22, 2011. Like most New Zealanders, it’s a date that Frankie Mackay, a Canterbury all-rounder and member of the White Ferns workforce wouldn’t overlook anytime quickly. It was a day when a significant earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale had despatched shockwaves throughout South Island, hanging at the coronary heart of Christchurch in Canterbury area, New Zealand’s second-most populous metropolis, inflicting wide-spread devastation and claiming as many as 185 lives.

Ironically, the day had begun on a hopeful observe for Mackay, then 21, who was knowledgeable that she can be making her debut towards Australia in the upcoming ODI collection. Shortly earlier than 1 pm, the workforce assembled at their resort at Cathedral Square for a apply session. She had simply walked in direction of the resort foyer in direction of the door when the floor beneath her started to shake vigourously. An alarmed Mackay wrapped herself round a pillar in the foyer. Her team-mates outdoors had misplaced their sense of bodily perspective when a big chunk of the magnificent Christchurch Cathedral’s tower had caved in. When the quaking stopped, none of workforce members have been injured, however they have been lined with mud from the particles. They gathered gingerly outdoors the resort premises, the place some most well-liked to sit down down as that made them really feel quite a bit safer. Mackay added: “There were White Ferns team curled in little balls in the middle of the Square.”

A team-mate started to take away the rubble to see if anybody was trapped beneath. Mackay recalled seeing fireplace bellowing from the adjoining Press Building, residence of Christchurch’s morning newspaper, which had collapsed. When she noticed folks popping out with blood on their faces, the enormity of the scenario sunk in. It was not simply the beloved Cathedral. “You think, ‘we’re in a world of trouble here.’”

Mackay would go on to claim herself as an all-rounder with big-hitting prowess and parsimonious off-spin bowling. Between 2011-2014, she was a daily with the New Zealand Women’s ODI and T20 squads, a interval wherein she travelled to the 2012 T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and the 2013 One-day World Cup in India. A subsequent loss in kind relegated her to the sidelines. After a five-year hiatus, she returned for the T20 collection at residence towards India after being named the Burger King Super Smash Women’s Player of the Year at the annual New Zealand Cricket awards that season.

Frankie Mackay.

A decade since that horrific pure calamity, Trevor Auger, a former membership cricketer based mostly in Auckland, had launched a e-book titled: “The Warm Sun on My Face: The Story of Women’s Cricket in New Zealand,” which amongst different issues, chronicled vividly, the occasions from that cool, mid-summer February afternoon. Interestingly, Auger had not deliberate to incorporate this part in his e-book earlier than assembly Mackay in 2018. “My conversation with Mackay moved me profoundly. She was the catalyst, and it’s her account that I chose to write in detail in this book,” Auger informed The Indian Express over the telephone.

The 676-pager, which was in the making for greater than 4 years, paperwork ladies’s cricket in New Zealand from the late nineteenth century to the present legends of the White Ferns workforce.

Auger was not in Christchurch or another half of South Island when tragedy struck. Nevertheless, he supplied a number of anecdotal proof of the mayhem and deep scars the chain of occasions had left in the minds of folks. “When the earthquake struck, I was working for the Ford Motor company in Auckland. But several colleagues from Ford’s Christchurch dealership recounted how the front of a nearby building toppled onto a bus and crushed several people,” he defined.

Apart from the loss of many harmless lives, the earthquake, Auger mentioned, was additionally accountable for wiping out the erstwhile Lancaster Park and partially devastating the Christchurch Cathedral — two monumental landmarks in the metropolis. “The Lancaster Park was integral to the city’s sporting ecosystem, with the venue regularly hosting international cricket and rugby matches. The earthquake had caused irreparable damage. It was only after this incident that the Hagley Oval was refurbished and put on the cricketing map. It hosted Sri Lanka in 2015, and then the World Cup that year,” Auger, who had labored as a press scorer at Auckland’s Eden Park, supplied.

‘The heart of the city is broken’

For the previous 10 years, the Christchurch Cathedral, an imposing neo-gothic construction, constructed by widespread English architect Sir Gilbert Scott, has been standing amongst particles and rubble, with its tower ravaged. Peter Beck, the cathedral dean, had informed the BBC: “The heart of the city is broken.”

“It was built by immigrants from England when they arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century. For long, this structure has been the identity of this city. Just like New York has the Empire State Building, Christchurch is known for its namesake: the Christchurch Cathedral,” Auger famous. “Not sure when the restoration work will begin. There’s a lot of debate over who will pay for it.”

Even in spite of everything these years, there are numerous New Zealanders, who’re still grappling with the after-effects. “Even now, when there’s even a slight tremor, my sister and nephew get very concerned,” Auger acknowledged.

Trevor Auger, a former membership cricketer based mostly in Auckland.

Former White Ferns cricketer Elizabeth Perry was amongst the many who have been bodily and emotionally drained by the occasions of February 22, 2011. Perry represented White Ferns at the worldwide degree for seven years from 2010 to 2017 as a reliable seam-bowling all-rounder. Apart from her stints in cricket, she additionally represented New Zealand internationally at hockey. In April 2019, Perry married New Zealand cricketer Maddy Green.

She was additionally concurrently pursuing her Master’s thesis at the time on: ‘The travelling female athlete: cricket, migration and globalization’. The topic of her examine concerned experiences of feminine athletes from New Zealand and Australia who migrate briefly to play cricket in England. It situated the migration community of feminine cricket inside the fashionable international sport area and challenged the total notion of what the typical international athlete is right this moment. At one level, she thought-about giving up her analysis and cricket too, earlier than household and mates helped her by that interval.

“This thesis has been a continual reminder of that day for me because of its connections to cricket, but I firmly believe that if it was not for this research I may not have continued my cricket career at all,” Auger quoted her in his e-book.


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