Sandra and Jurgen Bohme were delighted to re-visit the Port Hills Gondola yesterday on the last day of their six week New Zealand visit. From Nottingham in England, they had visited the attraction on February 22, 2011, also on the last day of a New Zealand visit. They had been in the Summit Café when the earthquake hit. Being close to the epicentre of the event, they were shaken about. Everything around them was being trashed.
“We were evacuated to the Summit Road behind the Gondola complex,” Sandra recalls. “We were getting aftershocks and huge cracks were opening in the hillside.”
They arrived on the Summit Road where someone kindly gave them a ride to comparative safety.
“Although alarming, it did not seem to worry me too much at the time but when we met our daughter at the airport in London a couple of days later I burst into tears,” says Sandra.
Yesterday they were facing cameras of two television channels before getting their own cameras clicking and whirring. They reckoned they were quite safe being on the hill this time.
Two old timers, brothers Robert and Henry, fronted with their well-worn annual passes. I remembered them from my working on the trams. There was not a day when they did not take a ride. They were delighted to discover their passes were still valid for the Gondola and, along with others, complemented Welcome Aboard for their generosity. They also thought the re-opened Gondola attraction was a delight. “Just need to get the trams going again,” they told me.