Illustrated Epistle Extract: Things That Will Kill You in New Zealand

Since we have been back in Lyttleton, we've had a few small tremors (3-ish on the Richter scale) and a larger jolt (4-ish) and I'm glad our house is timber and that the chimneys were taken down after the two big Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. We live on a hill and there are some large rocks above us, but there are also large trees and buildings in between us and those rocks, so having those rocks come tumbling down in an earthquake is less of a worry than in some other places. A 7.8 earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016 caused massive landslips that closed Highway 1 (Yes the major road connecting New Zealand's north to its south) for over a year, so being protected from slips and rockfalls is a something you have to consider.


At least being on a hill there is less risk of tsunami. In 1868, a tsunami drained Lyttelton Harbour and then ran up 3 metres above sea level, causing damage to wharves, jetties and boats, inundating paddocks and drowning sheep. It was due to an 8.5-9.0 earthquake that happened in what was then Peru (see Te Ara entry). Our house is about 40 metres above sea level, which puts us at low risk of tsunami damage, unless we are down at the pub on London Street, though even there it would have to be massive.

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This is an extract of my Illustrated Epistle, which goes out in the middle of the month. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cartoonist (specifically, mine). I'd love it if you signed up at the bottom of this page, or here:

Reasons to Be Cheerful - My New Work Space

When a landslip caved in the back of our house a couple of winters ago, It seems like a disaster. But out of that disaster came Terence's Terrace, the garden that was formed by the timber retaining wall that had to be put in. And after months and months of dealing with architects, engineers and the bloody council we got planning permission to repair the back room.

Duncan and the builder were working on that while I was away in Europe for 11 weeks. I came back just before it was finished. Last week all the remaining work was done and I was able to move into what is now my studio. It gets great light as it faces northwest. It also faces the garden, Which could be a bit of a distraction.

My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

It’s a lot messier in real life (and it’s only going to get worse!).

Alex Hallatt's studio