Former Californian Talks Surviving New Zealand Earthquake

Former Californian, and former CBS Sacramento news anchor, Pallas Hupe’ Cotter now lives in New Zealand and ironically has lived through the largest earthquake of her life.

Just two minutes after midnight local time, on 14 November, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island 55 miles north east of Christchurch; the epicenter was reportedly at the coastal town of Kaikoura. The primary quake was followed by a 6.8 magnitude aftershock later that same day, just one of 313 aftershocks recorded within 13 hours by Geonet, New Zealand’s national earthquake service.  Two people died and damage is estimated at more than $2 billion. Kaikoura and its 2000 residents were worst affected; they’re cut off from roads due to landslides, and are also without power or phone service.

Pallas Cotter talked with Cal OES public information officer Shawn Boyd via Skype about what she and her family and friends experienced, as well as all-things quake.

The most visually impacting effects of the quake is the new coastal shoreline. Satellite images released by NASA’s Earth Observatory show new land thrust out of the sea along the Kaikōura coast. GeoNet said the biggest upthrust, one of 18 feet, was in Waipapa Bay, and 12.5 miles of the coast had been raised by between 1.6 feet and 6.5 feet. The new land exposed on the peninsula was likely to stay that way, it said.

View Interactive Image comparison here: Earth Observatory


Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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