Nothing has bridged the rural-urban divide more than the voluntary efforts of the Farmy Army.
The June 13 Christchurch earthquake proved every bit as messy as the February 22 earthquake and much more significant than September 4, 2010.
Faced with a third clean up of tonnes of silt from individual properties, some dispirited residents just couldn’t be bothered and even turned away initial offers of assistance from farm army representatives who knocked at their doors.
But with the example of the Farmy Army volunteers leading the way, they changed their minds and everyone pitched. In some neighbourhood there were thousands of people in the streets on Saturday and Sunday with shovels and wheelbarrows.
The real magic of the Farmy Army was the generosity of individuals and contractors who brought their diggers and trucks to town. Clean up jobs that would have taken weeks were completed in a couple of hours.
They came from everywhere. One cowboy-hatted gumboot-wearing helper came from Mesopotamia Station, others were from towns throughout Canterbury. A group from as far away as Warkworth were also on their way south with diggers to help out.
And they haven’t finished. They’re coming back this week to help finish off clearing sections.