A Night of Terror

A Night of Terror

"It was .... a night of terror. Houses swayed, water pipes burst, crockery smashed and walls cracked. Many people rushed outside as chimneys crashed to the ground and it was miraculous no-one was harmed."

With eye-witness accounts and newspaper reports, Jan McLaren has created, 60 years later, a vivid word picture of the June 24, 1942 earthquake that literally changed Wairarapa overnight.

A Night of Terror traces the history of Wairarapa and Wellington region earthquakes and the reasons for them. It recreates the dramatic events of June 24 and the aftermath in Masterton, the other towns in the valley and Wairarapa's countryside. There are frantic efforts to remove dangerous ornamentation and demolish damaged buildings as the aftershocks continued. There are the attempts to repair and rebuild at a time when the outcome of World War Two was still very much in the balance.

A Night of Terror is illustrated with a unique collection of photographs, very few of them published before.

Jan McLaren

Jan McLaren is a long-time Masterton resident who has taught at secondary schools and the Wairarapa Community Polytechnic and was its marketing and communications manager for a number of years. In the 1980s she produced a number of documentaries for Radio New Zealand and was the founding co-ordinator of Access Radio Wairarapa. Jan has a keen interest in the arts; she has studied art history at Victoria University and has been on the organising committee of the 'Glistening Waters' Festival of Storytelling.

A Night of Terror is available from the Wairarapa Archive or online from Fishpond.co.nz