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Documenting the Christchurch, NZ’s Earthquake

‘Documenting History as it Happens’ will be the title of a special presentation by two New Zealand photographers, Ross Becker and Moira Fraser, at 7.30pm Monday 23 April at the National Library of Wales. The two photographers will discuss and show pictures of the pioneering response by the National Library of New Zealand to the big tragic earthquake which struck Christchurch in 2011 and also smaller ones, to ensure that the aftermath of the event was documented for the nation.
The earthquake struck the city of Christchurch on 22 February 2011 but it hasn’t been the only tremor in the area. There has been a loss of 185 lives, 7000 homes, cultural icons and 1200 commercial buildings as a result of 4 large earthquakes and more than 10,000 minor earthquakes since September 2010.

Ross and Moira are contributing to the documentary record of these events and the response to them, by taking and sharing photos of Christchurch.  Their project was initiated by the National Library of New Zealand 18 months ago soon after the first big earthquake.  The photographs are contributed to the National Library's Digital Heritage Archive to help to ensure that future generations will be able to understand how the look of Christchurch changed as a result of the earthquakes.

Although earthquakes are not common in Wales, the story of how the community in Christchurch has responded to the earthquakes (or, maybe other disasters like Aberfan in 1966) by working together to support each other, is a universal theme. 

'Ross and Moira's photographs of the Christchurch earthquake are a poignant archive of a terrible earthquake.  They also testify to the way libraries and others are becoming more active and more imaginative in capturing the shared memory of a nation. As the home of over 800,000 photographs the National Library of Wales has a great interest in building and preserving our country's photographic archive, but we also have much to learn about how libraries, archives and people can act swiftly to record history as it happens' said Andrew Green, Librarian of the National Library of Wales.'


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‘Documenting History as it Happens’Drwm, The National Library of Wales Aberystwyth

7.30pm Monday 23 April

For further information

Siôn Jobbins, NLW Press Office: 01970 632902