• Video: Esk Valley community gathers to remember the day their lives forever

Video: Esk Valley community gathers to remember the day their lives forever

One year on from Cyclone Gabrielle, the Esk Valley community gathered together at a local church that has come to be a place of piece in the midst of chaos.

The Eskdale Church was itself inundated with flood water and silt, requiring extensive restoration. Today it was a symbol of the resilience of the community. A shield bearing the words “The winds have held, the ground has shaken, the rains have come, the floods have surged, the church stands further” was unveiled at a community service of remembrance.

One man who remembers is Rikki Reed, a local who clung to a tree across the road for hours as the flood waters raged below.

He said that the church is now the centre of the community.

“Today is like an unveiling, almost, of the year, acknowledgement of what happened. General feelings been nice, everywhere hugging. And a lot of the meetings we've had over the last year, we've carried the weight of everything, and today felt like it was all lifted. Not completely, but for a time when our spirit should be low, it's quite high, and today was good. Good for Esk Valley.”

Anglican Minister Reverand Nigel Kynock said the service was a bringing together “and a strengthening of the community who need to support each other and have supported each other. And this is upholding what's gone on in the last 12 months”.

“We've all lost something. Some have lost loved ones, property, really special possessions, and we are just, we are letting our bereaved feelings just move on a little bit.”

“The shield was made from boards taken from where we ripped up in the aisle, getting the silk from underneath. It just means moving on, acknowledging so many hurts.”

Rikki says the place is special to him for lots of reasons.

“I was across the road hanging onto a tree in the floodwaters, and then where I've connected with most of the community. So, this place is a place in the middle of chaos that we find peace.”