The first release of a collection of stories from the Canterbury earthquakes has been made available in the CEISMIC digital archive.
The QuakeBox project is a collaborative venture between the University of Canterbury CEISMIC digital archive and the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour at the university. It has been supported by the Canterbury Community Trust, PBT Transport and Leighs Construction.
Audio and video recordings were made on-site using the Quake Box, a shipping container converted into a digital recording studio. In 2012 it was moved around Christchurch, recording stories at nine different locations across the city including the Re:Start Mall, Eastgate Mall, New Brighton, Lyttelton, Brooklands, Sumner, the A&P Show and Riccarton Mall.
A total of 723 stories were recorded in 13 different languages. The UC team is about halfway through the transcription process. Video and transcripts of the first 65 interviews are now available to the public on the website www.ceismic.org.nz.
The QuakeBox team plans to have 150 stories available by the end of June. Updates and highlighted stories will be available on the UC QuakeBox Facebook page.
The prevailing mood of the stories is one of optimism, says UC professor Jen Hay. “A strong sense of community comes through, with people often expressing their appreciation to those who helped them during the quakes or were seen to be helping others.
“It is clear that there is a feeling of camaraderie in the community and that Cantabrians have experienced these events together.
“The message that ultimately comes through from the stories is one of hope. Many people are optimistic and future-focused.