On Friday, April 8th Wellington’s Thistle Hall hosted over 60 people who came to hear 3 speakers talk about some of the work that went on in the period immediately after the earthquake, and on some of the challenges facing Christchurch residents over the coming months.
Guest speaker, Allister Dietschin from Beyond Resistance, talked about the work that his group was involved with in the Linwood and Avonside suburbs. Where he described how they provided food, water and gas to hard-hit communities. He also listed the issues and challenges that the working class communities will face during the winter months. Allister rounded off by describing how the loosely knit groups are beginning to form a mass, directly democratic movement and the role in which Beyond Resistance had to play.
Matt Jones from Unite Union highlighted the situation for workers in Christchurch. After the earthquake in September, Unite organised protests to pressure employers who were refusing to pay workers. Now, many thousands of people are out of work in Christchurch (some temporarily, others permanently). Matt’s anger at the response from the various agencies and government bodies was made inherently clear. When quizzed about the number of jobs likely to be lost he replied, “50,000 isn’t unrealistic”.
Ros Houghton from Women’s Refuge explained the challenges faced by Women’s Refuge in Christchurch after the earthquake, in which much of their local resources were destroyed. She talked about the work that Refuge is doing to support women and children who have been affected by a sharp increase in domestic violence since the earthquake.
A raffle with prizes and cake sale was put on and over $740 was raised.
The funds raised have been split 50/50 between the Christchurch Women’s Refuge Earthquake Appeal and Beyond Resistance, whose callouts for funds were the driving force behind the organising of this meeting.
Beyond Resistance explained that, “The money will be going directly into the work that has already begun. The demand to be heard is being felt throughout the Eastern suburbs. People are beginning to organise and take matters into their own hands – we’re going to be there to help in any way we can” Stated BR Spokesperson Allister Dietschin.
The short documentary After the Quake was screened at the event:
A HUGE thank you goes out to the organisers of this event, the broad group of people who attended and gave so generously and to the guest speakers who with their words are helping to burst the media bubble: “everything is not getting better and there are not just a few remaining issues in Christchurch…”