Hayley Westenra returns to a different Christchurch (with video)
Here is a report and an emotional video from TVNZ's Close-Up about Hayley's return to her earthquake-devastated home city of Christchurch. Scroll down to watch the video (and for a link to more videos taken at the Christchurch Memorial Service).
Westenra shocked by the reality of her city's ruin
Published: 9:43PM Thursday March 17, 2011 Source: ONE News
Hayley Westenra returned to her hometown of Christchurch on the eve of the memorial service where she will sing tomorrow.
Hayley watched her home city crumble from a television screen half a world away in London, and then had to wait in anguish for news of friends and family. She said she immediately wanted to return home after seeing the footage.
"It's just difficult being so far away and knowing that even if I did go home there was really nothing that I could do to help. It's just that feeling of wanting to be with your loved ones," she told TV ONE's Close Up.
Hayley's mother Jill Westenra warned her daughter of the reality of the devastation before she arrived today.
"It's all a bit surreal when you're just seeing it on a screen you know on your TV screen. I think for a lot of Kiwis it was that image of the Cathedral in tatters that really kind of hit home because the streets of Christchurch were my back yard growing up," Hayley said.
While Hayley was watching it on television, her family were in the thick of the earthquake. Her father Gerald watched Cashel Mall crumble from his office.
"I was in my office upstairs which looks out over Cashel Mall so I looked out and all I could see was masonry falling down in to the street and it was words can't describe the feeling it was just horrific," he said.
And like hundreds of others Gerald is now frustrated he cannot work. But the Westenras said they are thankful they are all safe.
Video: Hayley Westenra returns to a different Christchurch © TVNZ