Thursday November 16 2017
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the CTV tragedy I WAS the only one at the time who knew all the families, apart from Maryanne [Jackson]. So I was that go-to person. Now we have a tea or a get together every month or two. When you were driving in from Oxford, did you know what you would find? I knew the building was down and things weren’t good. The satellite dishes on the roofline were on the ground, and the CTV sign. It was a horrendous scene. People started ringing me then because they knew I was there. I would have been in the building – I didn’t go out for my lunch. I look back and think, if I hadn’t retired before, it could have been worse. Maryanne had 5000 practice runs, she ran out of the building every time there was an earthquake. The thing that saved her, though, was she went to do the dishes and the phone rang and, instead of going around the back of her desk, she answered over the front, so she dropped the phone and ran out the door. There are a lot of miraculous stories. The sales manager at the time, his wife used to work at QE II and someone was in trouble and
she jumped in the pool and got them out. She rang Malcolm [Harris] to ask him to bring in some spare clothes. That was at 12.30pm. Rhys [Brookbanks] was going to go out and do a story, and Emily Cooper said ‘don’t worry I’ll go out and do it’. Just things like that. People feel that survivor guilt at times, they feel why did I survive? Did you help identify some of the items from the building? Yes, we were trying to identify all the stuff that came out of the building and peoples’ belongings. There was about two containers of stuff, initially they put all the stuff in the gym beside the CTV Building. The night we were there, it affected your touch, your smell and even your sight. On the street it looked a bit like Armageddon, because on the coffee tables there were half-drunk cups of tea and that sort of thing. Why did you decide to retire in 2010? I’m an old bugger. I had stayed on longer than I wanted to because I went on an outreach trip to China, I said to Murray [Wood] if you let me go away for two months I’ll stay on until the
end of the year. How long did it take for CTV to get back up and broadcasting after the earthquake? We got the first signal back on air through Maori TV in about April. But we got the channel back up and running by about June or July. A lot of people were prepared to help, a lot locals and a lot of my contacts like Telstra and Kordia and we’ve got to be grateful for that. Was it helpful to try and get it back up-and-running sooner? It helped us all in the sense you felt you were honouring the ones who died, you were carrying it on, and it kept peoples’ focus on something else. In your job you were in charge of fixing things. Do you remember any big breakdowns over the years? The news went to air most of the time. There were close times. I know there was one where we had a few seconds to spare. But that’s part of television. We had fun. We used to do football, basketball and school sports. It’s amazing the stuff we filmed when I look back. •Turn to page 18
DEVASTATION: The CTV Building collapsed in the February 22, 2011, earthquake, killing 115 people. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN
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Published on Nov 15, 2017