Looking out for one another

I want to use this blog to reflect on the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Plenty. For those affected, it’s been a deeply unsettling time, leaving physical, mental and emotional scars. I’ve only experienced one earthquake in my lifetime and that was in Wellington. I was at the airport at the time and heard this loud rumbling sound, followed by the flickering of lights. Everyone was silent and while it only lasted a few minutes, it was significant enough to rattle many of the people around me. While the latest earthquakes were on a larger scale than what I experienced, I think we tend to underestimate the physical and psychological impacts it can have – not just during the earthquake but in the weeks, months and years to follow. People have lost their lives, their homes, their livelihoods and their peace of mind. For many this is not the first time they have had to pick up the pieces and rebuild. In fact, in the past year, NZ has experienced 189 earthquakes and a thousand more aftershocks!

I’ve had a personal insight into the Christchurch earthquakes. As some of you know my daughter is in the Logistics Corps in the NZ army and was one of the first soldiers into Kaikoura with the relief convoy.

While I can’t begin to imagine what she saw and had to deal with, I’m so proud of the contribution she is making. My daughter sent me numerous texts and photos via snap chat and it got me thinking, how lucky we are to have the technology that connects people at the touch of a button, wherever we are in the world. How reassuring it must have been for people who received a text or call from loved ones to say they were Ok.

While we often talk about the devastation that unfolds from events like this, we also need to talk about resilience and how during a crisis people and communities come together and support one another. Straight away you saw emergency response teams, agencies and community groups kick into action. The local marae opened its doors to the community, providing accommodation, food and support. People took the time to check on their friends and neighbours, and people from around NZ and overseas offered their help and support. The country pulled together, which made you very proud to be a kiwi.

Times like this also make you take a step back and reflect on the important things in life, such as spending time with the people we love, being kind to one another, and taking the time to appreciate the people and things around us. As we approach Christmas, our hearts and thoughts go out to the people of Christchurch, Wellington and Bay of Plenty as they continue to recover and heal. If you need someone to talk to contact the earthquake support line 0800 777 846


Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

2 thoughts on “Looking out for one another”

  1. Wrapped your daughter is serving in the Army.

    My daughter is currently posted to the HMNZS Canterbury. Who knows they may bump into each other. Earlier in the year, Alicia was on HMNZS Wellington when they were tasked to Fiji post Winston.

    They certainly enjoy the privilege and ability to assist others in time of need.

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