The spring has sprung, the grass has ris’
We wonder where Insurance is?
If you don’t come out to play
Our rebuild starts to fade away.
O global guardians of the pot,
It’s true, our village needs a lot
But we have always paid our share
So back us up, that’s why you’re there.
Don’t sit inside your ivory tower
Remember that you get your power
From those you contract to protect
Be bold, or else we are twice wrecked.
Melissa Parsons, September 2011
Melissa Parsons is a former High School French teacher who was on her way to a Writer’s Course at Canterbury University at 12.51 on Feb 22nd 2011. She grew up in Christchurch, and has spent all but 9 years of her adult life here, so feels deeply connected to the city and its experiences. The poem was born out of the dawning realization that overseas insurers were going to play a major role in the recovery, and that this might not be the prompt and positive experience we had been schooled to expect.
Melissa has been a volunteer interviewer for the Women’s Voices Project, recording the earthquake experiences of Canterbury women (a joint UC / NCW project, now live on CEISMIC) Currently, she is working on a book documenting the experiences of the region’s churches through the quakes, both what they suffered and what they were able to contribute to their communities. Her informal research has found that around two thirds of churches were insured with Ansvar, some individually and some under denominational schemes. Many claims are yet to be settled, and most churches are undertaking a thorough stock-take of their congregational and community needs, in order to use the eventual payouts to best serve those communities in future.
Check out the Women’s Voices project on CEISMIC sometime if you are interested. (See http://www.ceismic.org.nz/news/women%E2%80%99s-voices-oral-history-project-launched-on-uc-quakestudies).