By Amelia Wade
Tuesday Mar 1, 2011
Canterbury's favourite son, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, believes Christchurch can rebuild itself and rugby will help the city return to a sense of normality.
McCaw, who was in Christchurch during the quake, said it would take time for the devastated city to rebuild itself.
"I already see it, that if people are positive we'll get this city back up and running before long.
"I know there's been loss of life, but bricks and mortar can be fixed and it won't take long to get things up and running. It may even be better than before.
"It's going to take a long time but that attitude will become infectious," he told Campbell Live.
The forward said he knew it was bad as soon as the quake hit, but it was not until he saw the CBD that he realised the scale of the destruction.
"There were no phone calls really coming through ... We didn't perhaps have an appreciation of what was actually going on, so that's what made you wonder.
"Until you saw some pictures, you didn't understand."
The first thing he did was reach for his cellphone to text his immediate family to make sure they were okay.
"I don't know what would have happened before cellphones were around because a simple text message, especially from your immediate family, if it's all positive, is certainly a bit of a relief."
McCaw said the earthquake had brought Christchurch communities together as they rallied to get through the disaster.
He said the whole country was sharing Christchurch's grief.
"I just think in my neighbourhood, I knew my neighbours but I didn't know them that well, to be honest. We were round there the next day and everyone was out shovelling and you actually come to know them a lot better and are helping each other out ... just doing anything to help.
"Ninety-nine point nine per cent of people do that. I think during the tough times, you see the good in people coming out."
He believes rugby and city pride will help Christchurch return to normal as people rally behind the All Blacks and the Crusaders.
"There will come a time when we've got to look forward and try and work out the way to get things back to as normal as possible. I guess rugby's that, from a pride point of view, you can see a bit of normality; that's where we can have an influence."
He said he was asked to talk about the earthquake immediately after it happened, but felt it was not his place.
"There were people who knew what they were doing and had experience. People like the Mayor and John Key, they're the leaders that need to keep that under control."