Napier quake story told
by Judith Thompson
EFFERVESCENT 92-year-old Constance Horne remembers well the day after the 1931 Napier earthquake struck.
As the oldest living mayoress of Woodville, Mrs Horne, and her late husband, Henry, were caught up in the panic and desperation that went with having to find accommodation for hundreds of people made homeless by the quake.
“The earthquake happened on a Tuesday and on the day after a telegram from an MP was sent to my husband asking him to get accommodation for refugees from Napier.
“Well I rang all the people I knew and said to some ‘you ring all those from A to B’, and so on. By the time I went to bed that night we had beds for 400.
“Woodville’s not a big place but it’s a very close-knit community.” She said.
Mrs Horne stopped off in Palmerston North yesterday before heading to Woodville to celebrate the borough council’s centennial today.
She was to perform the cake-cutting ceremony with the oldest living mayor, Lionel Pilcher, who has also returned to the town for the occasion.
Although Mrs Horne now lives in Napier she has fond memories of the 66½ years she spent in Woodville.
But she said the job of mayoress was “very hard work” especially after the quake. People got the impression the couple were there to answer “every beck and call” and would often turn up at their home at hours like 1am, she said.
Mrs Horne says she has a good speech for the crowd at tonight’s centenary dinner and says she’s spoken in public so often in the past that she won’t be the slightest bit nervous.
Photo caption – Constance Horne…Woodville a “close-knit” community.