A touring show at the Otago Museum, which conjures up the
heartbreak and hopes arising from the Canterbury earthquakes,
has attracted more than 25,000 visitors, many finding it a
highly emotional experience.
The ''Canterbury Quakes'' exhibition, which aims to convey
the impact and the science behind one of New Zealand's
biggest natural disasters, was developed and initially
displayed at the Canterbury Museum.
The Otago Museum has been its next venue in a planned
three-year national tour.
Shortly after the show started in Dunedin on November 24,
museum staff were given further training to support visitors
who were strongly affected by the show and memories it
The exhibition includes many relics from Christchurch's
damaged infrastructure, including the rose window from
Photographs, film and audio content evoke the human side of
the disaster and recovery effort after Christchurch's most
devastating quake, on February 22, 2011.
Otago Museum marketing and development co-ordinator Juliet
Pierce said the ''very powerful'' exhibition reflected ''a
great deal of respect for the people of Canterbury and what
they've been through''.
The high visitor attendance was ''excellent'', and
highlighted the show's importance to Dunedin and Otago
people, as Canterbury's neighbours.
An emotional response was particularly evident when visitors
were watching ''projector clips of people's personal
experiences of the quake'' and some people had shed a few
The strongest reaction had come from a visitor who had
approached the museum information desk and asked a staff
member if she could speak to someone about the earthquakes.
''The woman was very upset so the staff member took her aside
to comfort her.''
The visitor, who had apparently lost some friends in
Christchurch, said she ''hadn't had the chance to grieve
The staff member had spent about 15 minutes with her,
comforting her until she was ready to continue.
Some visitors from Christchurch said they had found attending
the exhibition a ''healing'' experience, and, responding to a
survey, said they were ''reliving the experience, but
safely'', and ''reflecting with fresh eyes''.
The show runs until May 5.