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Hastings community gathers to commemorate 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake


Hawke’s Bay 1931 earthquake survivor Peter Price was just two years old at the time of the disaster, but remembers it had an ongoing profound impact on his family while growing up.

Today, the community, survivors, local school representatives and Hastings district councillors gathered near the town clock in Hastings city centre to remember the tragedy that shook the region on February 3, 1931, at 10.47am, changing the face of Hastings city and the wider region forever.

Still the country’s most devastating natural disaster, the earthquake killed 256 people, 93 of those from Hastings, and injured more than 2500 people.

Mr Price addressed those gathered, sharing that he was the 10th of 12 children and that after the earthquake his mother put him in a pushchair and headed to Parkvale School to collect his brothers and sisters.

“My sister had her arms locked around the headmaster. On the way home I was fascinated at the water from the swimming pool falling out and going down the street like a river, and also the cows jumping out of the paddocks.”

Although his family came through relatively unscathed, he remembered them talking of the suffering of others, and of his mother cooking for an extra 18 people for two weeks.

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst also addressed the crowd acknowledging those families who lost their loved ones, those who were injured and those who survived that tragic day; as well as the months of hardship that followed for those who endured the quake’s aftermath.

“This anniversary every year reminds us of the fragility of human life. We remember people’s bravery, their strength and their resilience.

“Hastings’ 1931 community toiled frantically to rescue those trapped or injured by the quake; and many worked tirelessly to rebuild our town and restore our district.  

“We are grateful for their foresight and their single minded vision to rebuild Hastings, a city of which we are justly proud of today.”

3 February 2023

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