Gisborne art collector shaken by earthquake

They were in Wellington. 'We thought in the building was collapsing'

They were in Wellington. 'We thought in the building was collapsing'

AFTER THE QUAKE: Gisborne arts patron Professor Jack Richards (inset left) and partner Wong Gyu Moon were in their Wellington apartment when the earthquake struck on Sunday night. Valuable artworks and belongings crashed to the floor during what Professor Richards describes as a terrifying experience.

Pictures supplied
Jack Richards and Won Gyu Moon.

“A bit of excitement” is how Gisborne art collector and philanthropist Jack Richards describes his terrifying experience of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Wellington on Sunday night.

He and partner Won Gyu Moon had just returned from the movies when the earthquake struck. They live on the 11th floor of Wellington’s new One Market Lane high-rise apartment block. The building is designed to sway in an earthquake. Because the apartment is on the top floor of the building, the experience was terrifying, said Professor Richards.

“We thought the building was collapsing. The earthquake started off with a rolling motion then it got stronger. It went for a couple of minutes.”

He and Mr Moon were thrown to the floor with the violence of the quake. Drawers were flung open and their contents thrown out.

“Things fell down and smashed, paintings fell off the wall,” says Professor Richards. “The floor was littered with broken glass.”

Among the artworks was glass piece by artist Ann Robinson and a Ming vase that crashed to the floor. Robinson’s work hit the carpet and was not damaged but the vase, created in China during the 1368 to 1644 Ming dynasty, was broken in the fall, said Professor Richards.

A Royal Copenhagen porcelain piece that depicts a Greek figure wrestling with a snake also fell but was not damaged, but a lot of contemporary bone china objects were broken.

Mr Moon suffered a deep cut when his head struck the hinge of a doorway he took shelter in.

He and Professor Richards took to the fire escape stairs to get out of the building but once outside found they were on their own.

“The building is self-managed so there was no one there to take charge. People had to look after themselves. That was scary.”

He took Mr Moon to the hospital, where the cut to his head required five stitches.

The couple’s Wellington apartment interior was designed by Stewart Harris, who was also the interior architect for Tairawhiti Museum’s Jack C Richards Decorative Arts Gallery which houses part of his collection.

Neighbours told Professor Richards the Wellington earthquake was the biggest they had experienced.

“A bit of excitement” is how Gisborne art collector and philanthropist Jack Richards describes his terrifying experience of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Wellington on Sunday night.

He and partner Won Gyu Moon had just returned from the movies when the earthquake struck. They live on the 11th floor of Wellington’s new One Market Lane high-rise apartment block. The building is designed to sway in an earthquake. Because the apartment is on the top floor of the building, the experience was terrifying, said Professor Richards.

“We thought the building was collapsing. The earthquake started off with a rolling motion then it got stronger. It went for a couple of minutes.”

He and Mr Moon were thrown to the floor with the violence of the quake. Drawers were flung open and their contents thrown out.

“Things fell down and smashed, paintings fell off the wall,” says Professor Richards. “The floor was littered with broken glass.”

Among the artworks was glass piece by artist Ann Robinson and a Ming vase that crashed to the floor. Robinson’s work hit the carpet and was not damaged but the vase, created in China during the 1368 to 1644 Ming dynasty, was broken in the fall, said Professor Richards.

A Royal Copenhagen porcelain piece that depicts a Greek figure wrestling with a snake also fell but was not damaged, but a lot of contemporary bone china objects were broken.

Mr Moon suffered a deep cut when his head struck the hinge of a doorway he took shelter in.

He and Professor Richards took to the fire escape stairs to get out of the building but once outside found they were on their own.

“The building is self-managed so there was no one there to take charge. People had to look after themselves. That was scary.”

He took Mr Moon to the hospital, where the cut to his head required five stitches.

The couple’s Wellington apartment interior was designed by Stewart Harris, who was also the interior architect for Tairawhiti Museum’s Jack C Richards Decorative Arts Gallery which houses part of his collection.

Neighbours told Professor Richards the Wellington earthquake was the biggest they had experienced.

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