The 1931 Napier Earthquake was one of the most devastating natural disasters in Aotearoa New Zealand's history, with 256 deaths and a city left in ruins. In this talking heads documentary made for MTG Hawke's Bay, five survivors — children and teenagers at the time — give firsthand accounts of the monumental day and its aftermath. Director/producer Gaylene Preston includes rousing sound design amongst the interviews, giving a sense of how an earthquake of that magnitude would sound. Preston would later expand upon the topic of the Napier quake in her Qantas-nominated doco Earthquake!
The city was about to blow up, literally.– Napier local Audrey McKelvie (née Hurst) on the fires that followed the Napier earthquake
Produced for The Hawkes Bay Cultural Trust
Featured interviews: Hana Cotter, Audrey McKelvie (née Hurst), Jim Clayton and Lauris Edmond
Page on the 1931 Napier Earthquake, Napier City Council website
Profile on poet Lauris Edmond, The Arts Foundation website, March 2021
Gaylene Preston discusses Survivor Stories in this speech, Friends of the Turnbull Library website, July 2021
Mention of Survivor Stories on the MTG Hawke's Bay blog, January 2018