The Hawke’s Bay earthquake was New Zealand’s worst civil disaster. Over 250 people died following the 7.8 quake on 3 February 1931. In this full-length documentary, director Gaylene Preston (Hope and Wire) gathers eyewitness accounts from survivors, including kuia Hana Lyola Cotter, who recounts joining the rescue effort as a teen, poet Lauris Edmond, and a student from Greenmeadows Seminary. Included is eye-opening newsreel footage of the damage. Earthquake was nominated for Best Popular Documentary at the 2006 Qantas TV Awards; it won best sound at the NZ Screen Awards.
We didn’t realise what really it was like till we got there. Oh gosh, we thought it was the end of the world.– Hana Lyola Cotter recalls the scene, arriving in Napier the day after the quake
Available to purchase from Gaylene Preston Productions
Made with funding from NZ On Air
Presented with thanks to the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata