The beginning

By Louisa

It began on 24 February 2015. A public meeting was held at Governors Bay Hotel to discuss the fate of the jetty. It has been closed since the February 2011 earthquake after a close look at its integrity found it wanting - as was the case for many structures in the wider Christchurch area.

My family and I moved to Governors Bay in January 2015. Having lived in Christchurch since 1998, I had a passing acquaintance with the GB jetty. I'd admired its distinctive exclamation mark on the landscape whenever I drove over the hill. I'd walked along it a couple of times to burn off calories from a meal and a pint at the pub. 

Not long after we moved to the top of the hill in GB, I saw notices about a public meeting for the jetty. I'd heard on the radio that the plan for the jetty was to do nothing. Let her go.

"No way," I thought and went to the public meeting.

The pub was packed and emotions were running high. Although everyone's perspectives on the how, what, when and why to save the jetty differed, I think I'm safe to say the general consensus was that the jetty is worth saving, either by the people, the Council, or both.

Watching it fall to pieces or ripping it apart wasn't an option for most, so something had to be done. The first thing to do - and last thing at that meeting - was to gather a group of volunteers to drive the jetty restoration.

The call for volunteers rang out. When someone suggested that a submission could be written for partnering with the Council, I thought "I'm good at filling in forms" (I'm a technical writer). I put my hand up. Someone wrote my name down.

A guy sitting nearby who had also put his hand up (Phil Jackson, as it turns out) gave me a look. "You're brave", he said. That got me worried.

I was new to the Bay. I was female (I still am!) and I was on a committee with eight men. I've never been on a committee before.

You know those people you see on TV who have pulled someone out of quicksand using jump leads or taken control of a plane when the pilot succumbed to norovirus? They go on Campbell Live and looked perplexed when told they're brave. They say "I just did what anyone else would have done".

That's how I feel. The jetty needs to be saved. It's too awesome to lose. If it's not fixed, it will rot. I'm just doing what anyone else would do.

As it turns out, there was nothing to be brave about. My fellow committee members are respectful, polite, enthusiastic, let me get a word in edgeways, and don't seem to mind a blank look when they discuss engineering and logistics. They may never ask me where I bought my shoes from - I could be wrong - but what's for sure is they are people who has what it takes to fix our jetty.

I can't wait for the opening ceremony. Might take a few years, but I'll see you there.