“I live in Westmorland, but I was telling my childhood story about growing up in Addington. My Nana lived around the corner; in those old days, that’s what happened. My dad built the house after the war. We’d walk every day to have lunch with Nana.

I’m one of eight – I’m number four. When our parents got sick we could look after them between us. I always feel for people who are only children because they can’t share the burden. Not that it is a burden.

Addington’s really changed post-earthquake. It went through a stage of just looking really poor and a bit rundown and now it’s looking a bit prosperous. My uncle who lives overseas often asks about the house he was born in. Just very recently he’s loving to reminisce about the old days and he asked if we could send a picture, but actually the house has gone – a block of apartments has gone up and I suggested to my cousins not to tell him.

I used to take my wee trike to post letters. We could pick up the bread from the grocer on the way. Nana would put the money in the tray of the trike, and the grocer would take the coins and put the bread in. I think I was four. But life was very simple wasn’t it, and it wasn’t very far. I mean you’re talking probably about 100 metres around to the corner grocer. And we all felt very safe.

Life today is very different.

You know how you remember funny things from your childhood. I remember my mum digging in that garden and putting a fork through her foot and there was blood – that’s probably why I can remember it because it was a bit dramatic! The doctor was over the road from the grocer and so he came down to the house. That doesn’t happen these days! Life was community-based, very neighbourly.”

– Antoinette

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