28 Feb 2011
The Governor-General, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, and Lady Susan Satyanand, visited Christchurch to support those affected by the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 Feburary 2011 and those involved in the rescue and recovery programme.
Arriving on a commercial flight on Sunday 27 February, Sir Anand and Lady Susan first visited Christchurch Hospital where they were met by Dr George Downward, Medical Director of Patient Safety, Ruth Barclay, Hospital Controller, and the Hon Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Labour.
After visiting the Emergency Department where they met by Professor Michael Ardagh, Emergency Physician, they had lunch with doctors and nurses that were working in the Department. They then went to one of the wards where they met two patients who were injured in the earthquake.
Sir Anand and Lady Susan then travelled to the Emergency Operations Centre at the Christchurch Art Gallery where they were met by National Civil Defence Co-ordinator John Hamilton and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and received a briefing from Mr Hamilton, Superintendent Dave Cliff from the New Zealand Police, Assistant National Commander Paul Baxter from the New Zealand Fire Service, and Sue Gullery from St John’s Ambulance.
After their briefing, Sir Anand and Lady Susan toured the EOC, speaking to responding to calls for assistance, including staff from St John and the Salvation Army, and offering their support for their work.
After the tour, Sir Anand spoke to the media and praised those involved in the response to the disaster for their professionalism and service to the community. While the task ahead was huge, he reiterated the support of all New Zealanders.
“People throughout New Zealand stand alongside the people of Christchurch. It is an event that has made everyone realise that New Zealanders are a single family.”
Sir Anand also publicly thanked the teams from throughout the world that were assisting the New Zealand teams with the rescue effort. He also noted that he had received messages from The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and many other world leaders.
After speaking to the media, the Governor-General and Lady Susan met with a number of religious leaders, including Rev Peter Beck, the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, the Bishop of Christchurch, and Most Rev David Moxon, Archbishop of New Zealand.
Sir Anand and Lady Susan then travelled to Latimer Square where they met Jim Stuart-Black, the New Zealand Fire Service’s National Manager for Special Operations. Mr Stuart-Black then showed the Governor-General and Lady Susan around the facilities and introduced them to the Urban Search and Rescue Teams from New Zealand and throughout the world. Sir Anand personally thanked the New Zealand and international USAR teams for their efforts and assistance.
The Governor-General and Lady Susan then travelled to Burnside High School where a welfare centre has been established and were shown the facilities by co-ordinator Simon Battrick. At the welfare centre, Their Excellencies met some of the people directly affected by the disaster, as well as staff from the Order of St John, Wellington Free Ambulance, and Salvation Army, Work and Income New Zealand and many other organisations that were helping them.