Earthquake stories by Maria Hansen

Hagley graduate, Maria Hansen has had two books published by Lift Education as part of the Ready to Read Series from the Ministry of Education.

The Night the House Shook is based on an actual experience of a St Albans School student during the Christchurch earthquake of September 2010.

Isobel’s Garden is the true story of Isobel, an elderly Christchurch poet and artist. When two brothers accidentally kick their ball into her garden, Isobel explains to them and their mum that she is struggling with her large garden in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. The family help her out, but it’s a huge job, so they call in the Student Volunteer Army.

For some years now, Maria Hansen has visited schools in Christchurch and read her stories to the children. In her working life, Maria is a mediator – one of a small team of experienced mediators in Christchurch helping to resolve disputes between homeowners, insurance companies, and EQC.

“Everyone who lived in Christchurch during the time of the earthquakes has a story to tell. There are stories of loss and near misses, and many funny anecdotes. Some stories are held tight and others are shared. I collect them. This is the task of every writer. I don’t seek them out, but going about my everyday life in Christchurch, earthquake stories are there for the collecting – like shells on a beach. 

These threads – our shared earthquake stories, reading to and hearing stories from children, and the mediation process as a constructive way forward – draw my writing and mediation work together in a way that reflects our shared experience.” (Maria Hansen)


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