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4234 posts

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# 78089 26-Feb-2011 20:40
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I work for Telecom and I live in South New Brighton in Christchurch. The quake has taken away our water, sewerage and power, and it may be weeks before they are on at my address.

I am fine, and my house has some damage, but it's inconsequential compared to the losses suffered by others.

What I wanted to do was to publicly thank Telecom for the simply incredible response to their employees based in Chch. I can't speak for everyone, but here are some examples of what I experienced.

I was in Wellington when the quake struck, a few floors up in a meeting with ALU about something or other... We felt a small quake and my initial reaction was one of laughter ("You call that a quake!?") before the horrible realisation that it might have been in Chch... A couple of minutes later I got a phone call from a very good friend in Chch and she was in hysterics, It took 3 dropped calls before I could determine she was uninjured. I had family and friends in Chch I couldn't immediately contact so I excused myself from the meeting and tried to get some info about what happened.

I was due to fly back the next day, but quickly changed my booking to go back ASAP. Within minutes of me making the booking change, I got a call from Telecom's travel team who had identified I was a Chch based employee and was currently on business travel outside of Chch. They were phoning to offer me any support they could, including changing tickets, arranging additional accomodation in Wgtn, anything I wanted.

I just wanted to get home. They told me they would do anything they could to help so I went to the airport to wait.

Unfortunately I couldn't get a flight that night, and while at the airport the Travel team phoned me again to make sure my accommodation would be arranged as they had also determined that no-one would get home that night.

The next day I got back on the second flight out and managed to get back home to no power, no water, some housing damage and no pets. (The pets are all since back, significantly outperforming Orion and the Water :-)

From mid afternoon on the day of the quake through until now, I have had individual project manager, project team members, my manager, HR and even just people I have met within Telecom phone me, send text messages and emails, almost unanimously offering any help they could. I have had multiple offers of accommodation in Wellington and Auckland. I even had one friend in Telecom offer to loan me a car to drive back if flight wouldn't be an option!!!

Telecom HR and Paul Reynolds also sent messages advising staff on what buildings are damaged, and confirming that automatic special leave for a period of time has been arranged on full pay for all staff in Chch, and that people wouldn't be required to return to work until personal circumstances allowed.

I've worked for small companies in the past, and there seems to be the impression that large companies in general - and perhaps Telecom specifically, are heartless corporations.

To remove any doubt, Telecom has a huge heart, not just with the round the clock assistance given in the direct quake effort (I can't tell you about some of the tasks undertaken by staff to assist the effort, but they are massive and both emotionally and physically draining), but the corporate support of staff is exemplary - I simply couldn't imagine anything else they could do. There is an 0800 number for Telecom staff to call to ask for anything... Water, accommodation, somewhere to do a load of washing, food, you name it - people in Telecom are working to connect those with the resources to those without.

I've never truly loved a company I have worked for before, but for all it's foibles, I Love Telecom - I feel like every single employee in Chch is being treated like a family member or friend by the company itself and by every person working in it.

Thankyou, to all those Telecom staff not in Chch working so hard to not only help us, but to take up the slack with so many of us not able to work right now.

My story isn't unique and the support of many other companies is just as good, but I had to say this as loud and wide as I could - I'm so thankful and amazed at the support being offered.

Of course, some perspective is required - I've lost no close friends or family members, I'm not injured and my house isn't badly damaged. So many people in Chch aren't as lucky as I have been.

Neil Gardner



Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.

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BDFL - Memuneh
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Uber Geek

  # 443724 26-Feb-2011 21:09
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Nice Neil.


Promote New Zealand - Get yourself a domain name!!!

Check out mine - -


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Uber Geek


  # 443726 26-Feb-2011 21:12
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freitasm: Good luck Neil, to you and yours...

Thankyou sir - the most amazing thing which I realised while typing the above post is that I really don't feel like I need any luck.

My company is being incredibly supportive, the government and the EQC have already proved how well they can handle this sort of thing, and the support of the people in Chch (especially the Student Volunteer Army) demonstrate the very very best of humanity.

Although many have died, and many buildings are and will be razed, I am 100% confident that this disastrous quake will be viewed globally as one of the very best handled disasters in history.

This disaster couldn't have occurred in a city more prepared to deal with it, and with better resolve than Christchurch.

Thanks to the huge number of volunteers in Chch helping out those in the badly affected areas - as I say, you guys represent the best of humanity and I'm proud to share a city with you all.

Cheers - N



Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.

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Uber Geek

  # 443732 26-Feb-2011 21:23
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Nice post Neil.

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Master Geek

# 443733 26-Feb-2011 21:26
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Neil I agree 110% we are all behind you in Christchurch right across the business. I have seen some outstanding examples of the commitment of all of our fellow staff to do what ever they can.
I am both humbled and extremely proud to work for such an amazing company.
Take care Neil and sing out if you need anything.

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  # 443734 26-Feb-2011 21:29
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Very good to see how well you were treated, and that you shared the positive story with us.

kind regards Andrew TD

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Master Geek

  # 443735 26-Feb-2011 21:35
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Since the hours after the quake the @TelecomNZ twitter team were very active and supportive on Twitter, and provided some insight into how much they (I guess as individuals and a company) were willing to do to help Christchurch as a whole, and their staff as well!

It's great to hear about the ways companies as big as Telecom be so nimble in their response to events like these.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 443742 26-Feb-2011 22:10
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Absolutely amazing to hear.  
Big companies with big resources can make a big immediate difference, and its great to hear that Telecom have done just that.

Baby Get Shaky!
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  # 443776 27-Feb-2011 00:21
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tigercorp: Absolutely amazing to hear.  
Big companies with big resources can make a big immediate difference, and its great to hear that Telecom have done just that.

It's great to see a big company with big resources looking after their employees! All the Telecommunications companies seem to be doing an exemplary job looking out for their own as well as the rest of the people of Chch. What worry's me is how the smaller companies will be able to look after their staff, hopefully the Government with it's big resources can help there.

Hopefully you get Water and Power back soon.

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Uber Geek

  # 443789 27-Feb-2011 02:15
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AndrewTD: Very good to see how well you were treated, and that you shared the positive story with us.

+1 positive read, thanks

gz ftw

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  # 443795 27-Feb-2011 08:24
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Along a similar vein, I think how all the mobile carriers ensured their networks stayed up with the power cuts and loss of quite a number of sites should be congratulated too.  I am sure after Sept last year some lessons were learnt.  But when this sort of disaster occurs the mobile network goes from important, to life saving.  I think it would be interesting for many geeks if the call / sms volumes were posted from Tuesday until today.  As stories of people trapped under the rubble calling for help on their mobile phone makes you realise how important the network is.


Mr Snotty
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  # 443796 27-Feb-2011 08:32
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I am supposed to be a telecom employee on the 1st working in the palms. But the store was really damaged. Telecom got in contact with me assuring I still had a job and also said if there was anything they could do then just say. I am very impressed with how telecom got in contact and asked. They seem to really look after their staff and I am thankful that I am going to be working for a company like that. Stay strong buddy. I think we need a beer or 7 :)

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Spark NZ

  # 444433 1-Mar-2011 13:29
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this was a really lovely post to read Neil - but more importantly, I am happy that you are okay.

take care,

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Uber Geek


  # 444647 2-Mar-2011 00:36
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Our company has many Telecom services, Telecom have treated us so awesomley through out this whole thing. Offering spare cellphones on no term contracts, phone lines diverted to Dunedin office that afternoon, spare datacards, services to our new temp site being sorted very quickly, they have made the whole process very easy for us.

Admittedly we are a reasonable size company and spend quite a bit with Telecom but they have made it all worth it.

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Master Geek

  # 444651 2-Mar-2011 01:43
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Great post Neil, I'm in Avonside and we just got water back today. Hope you have some services back. I'm in the Gen-i part of the business and across the board the support has been fantastic. Take care

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