Part 1 - My experiences at the time of the quake and the next 24hrs.
I missed the actual 7.1 Quake as I was in Wellington at the time for an Essentials of Humanitarian Practice course by RedRNZ. However I was to be involved due to my involvement with Civil Defence, and did return home pretty much as soon as I could. At the same course were a number of others that would be involved, including two key members of the Canterbury Civil Defence Group, and it was coincidental the discussion I was having with the Manager - Canterbury Regional Emergency Management Office only hours before the Quake occurred.
I slept through the TXT from my wife, but was awoken a little late when the Civil Defence Response Team pager went off activating the team I am involved with (NZRT-11). I had to respond that I was not initially available for the activation, and I then contacted home and found that there was no real damage and everyone was ok. I tried to get onto the 'net via my Telecom CDMA Smartphone, but could not get a connection, so tried to get some sleep as there was little I could do at that time.
I got up later, not succeeding in getting much more sleep, and finished off the course I was at and packed up etc. Having found out that there wasn't much chance of getting back to Christchurch by commercial flights for a while anyway.
I did manage, thanks to helpful Air New Zealand staff, to get an earlier flight than my original booking and got into Christchurch on one of the first flights.
Flying in was a bit surreal, and could not see a lot of obvious damage, although in retrospect the "didn't look quite right" aspects of the Wigram runway were probably pretty bad breaking up of the tarmac.
That afternoon I spent unpacking, doing some clearing up at home, and preparing for the time to follow, as while we had been very lucky and there had not been any deaths, and only a very small number of injuries from the Quake, there was obviously much work to be done.