I was all by myself with no radio and I had been a policeman for two hours.
It was my first day in uniform on the street as a police officer even though I was still a student.
The police officer in charge had just said “Nothing ever happens in Hamilton when bang. I thought it was a gas explosion.
We went into Beaumont Street, saw the carnage, the collapsed lift well on the Greater Building Society and knew it was an earthquake.
An elderly man was deceased where Gloria Jean’s is now.
I was told to stay with him to preserve the scene. I was all by myself with no radio and I had been a policeman for two hours.
People were evacuating banks and shops. It was pretty chaotic and they kept asking me what they should do.
I wanted to say don’t ask me I have no idea.
At the end of the day, Beaumont Street was silent. I was looking around just taking it all in when someone told the media that it was my first day at work so that is how this photo was seen by my family in South Australia.
The earthquake shaped my perception of the value of human life. It also made me realise at a young age that the earth is much stronger than me.
I left the force in 2010. I am married with five kids.
Then 18 year old Police Constable, Hamilton