Close call

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Stanley Street head of media Andrew Reinholds (at the time of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, he was managing partner at OMD) was figuratively right there – on the phone to Mike Gray – at the precise moment the big one struck …

AUCKLAND, Tuesday: “In 2011, OMD’s offices were at 33 College Hill. Being lunchtime, I’d popped down to Victoria Park New World to pick up something to eat,” he writes.

“As I was walking back up the hill, my phone rang. It was Mike Gray – we’d been playing phone tag for a while, and I hadn’t spoken to him since what was at the time the first Christchurch earthquake.

“I was more keen to hear Mike’s story than talk work, to be honest. He told me how he’d been out with clients on Saturday night at the rugby when the quake hit in the early hours.

“His first reaction was to get to the hills in case of a tsunami. Which was just like Mike – always thinking well ahead of everyone else. 

“In the background, Andrea suddenly started screaming as if she was literally fearing for her life. It made my blood run cold.”

“Suddenly my phone started making a very unusual noise. The best way I can describe it is a Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar wail, with Mike’s voice drifting in and out between the feedback.

“Then in the background, Mike’s wife Andrea [Rongonui] suddenly started screaming.

“It was simply terrifying – as if she was literally fearing for her life. It made my blood run cold.

“Mike came back on and simply said, ‘massive quake, massive quake, gotta go’.

“When I got back into the office, I told my colleagues what had just happened and we jumped onto Twitter to watch the events unfold.

“It was something I’ll never forget.”

  • Yesterday’s earthquake story here

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