My partner is half-Samoan and has dozens of relatives there, many of whom have been affected by the tsunami. We found it difficult contacting them directly and had to rely on NZ media to find out what had happened. It started with Deborah Hill Cone and others on facebook questioning why TVNZ didn't cancel Good Morning and continue with the news - it was a national emergency. TV3 could have cancelled Rachel Ray as well for example. But no - our public broadcaster let us down. The only news coverage on TV until later in the day was really Skytv news on Channel 90 and that was piecemeal. The fact that the Civil Defence staff member interviewed on TV1 Breakfast seemed to know less than Paul Henry about what was happening was farcical and reinforced the need for them to stay on air.
National Radio was the best source of news (other than the internet) in the morning and Danny Watson on Newstalk ZB did a great job in the afternoon.
It was a difficult day anyway but TVNZ could have responded better. Thank you to publicaddress and other websites that helped communicate information throughout the day to many worried kiwis.
My sister and I stayed at Coconuts last year, in an overwater fale that is almost certainly destroyed now. It's a strange feeling.
But no - our public broadcaster let us down.
After the Boxing Day Tsunami, not one minute of TV coverage was added to the schedule. Not one programme was dumped or delayed.
The key word was not "Tsunami", but "Boxing Day". Hundreds of thousands of dead, but still - it was holiday time.
In possibly the most insensitive programming decision in history, TV3 continued with its scheduled feature film, shot and set in Thailand: "The Beach".
(on a more positive note, I agree with Andre about the radio coverage this time. Radio does live information so much better than television).
Regarding the Boxing Day Tsunami my memory is that although it was obviously a BIG shake it took some time for the for the enormity of the wave and loss of life to filter through
Likewise with Samoa there didn’t seem to be any links in place
Certainly it is a time to put your hand in your pocket
Rotary have a thing called Shelter Boxes, these are great and you can be assured that every dollar placed for these will get to the other end, unlike some other charities
My cousin's brother in law has lost 5 members of his adopted family, she has said to donate to The Red Cross, for the same reason as above.
Please donate, some people have lost more than everything...
We visited Samoa almost exactly a year ago, and it's been guit-wrenching seeing the devastation at many of the places we visited. Taufua Beach Fales at Lalomanu has been destroyed, and five members of the family that own it killed.
The boat that I went diving from on the south coast is now sitting in the middle of the bar at Coconuts.
Virgin Cove resort also looks like it's basically been flattened, although I was relieved to hear that all the staff and guests escaped pretty much unscathed.
I've also heard that Manono Island was hit pretty hard, although details are sketchy, I really hope that Leota and his family are OK.
Isn't it? My (now) wife and I stayed on Railay Beach for some time in 2004 a few weeks before the Boxing Day tsunami. It's a small place and a number of "famous" photos came from that beach after the fact - made it quite real and surreal at the same time.
Just saw one of the surviving members of the Taufua family on the evening news... their beach fale business (along with the rest of the village) has been flattenned, and half the family have been killed. Absolutely heartbreaking.
It looks a lot like one of the teachers from my kids' school isn't coming back from her holiday. They aren't in her class, but a lot of their friends are.
It seems that's the story for nearly every place on the south coast. I do hope the Prime Minister of New Zealand does justice to his promise of a "generous" response to the disaster. There's no other place where we have a greater obligation to help than this one.