Scots quantity surveyor helps Christchurch rebuild

A FEMALE Scottish quantity surveyor who won her first charity boxing match today said “six minutes of pain” was worth it to help rebuild a New Zealand city devastated by the 2011 earthquake.

Claire Butterly (centre), who took part in the inaugural Battle of the Rebuild. Picture: Contributed
Claire Butterly (centre), who took part in the inaugural Battle of the Rebuild. Picture: Contributed

Claire Butterly, 26, fought in the inaugural Battle of the Rebuild bringing together the major construction, home building, civil works and engineering companies working in Christchurch for the largest construction event New Zealand has ever seen.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 killed 185 people and resulted in large swathes of New Zealand’s second largest city being demolished, including a number of residential areas.

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Ms Butterly, originally from Ayr, trained for 10 weeks in a boxing gym for the sell-out event at the city’s CBS stadium.

Representing her company, Hawkins Construction, the Scot who fought under the name Claire “Scottish Stinger” Butterly, against opponent Jane “Don’t Fence Me In” Robins, in three rounds each lasting two minutes, said: “It was definitely worth getting punched and hit about all over for six minutes to change lives.

“It was hard, really really hard but worthwhile. I gave my opponent a bloody nose but it wasn’t broken,

“It seemed to go by really fast but to last a long time too. I felt surprisingly calm. To me it was a case of ‘train hard, fight easy’ and it seemed to work.”

Ms Butterly, who previously worked for Barr Construction in Paisley before going travelling in 2012, was piped into the ring and by the end of the bouts had raised $16,000 (over £8,000) for a range of charities including the Canterbury Youth Development Programme Trust.

“These wee kids come from nothing, and this charity helps them break that cycle. It works with them and their families for five years and gives them support.”

Nearly $100,000 (more than £50,000) was raised for charity in the week leading up to the event.

Ms Butterly who worked on a range of projects in Scotland including the Scotstoun athletics and rugby stadium in Glasgow, is currently helping rebuild Kaiapoi museum.

“I came out to New Zealand and got offered the rebuild work. You never really get the opportunity to rebuild a whole city, so an opportunity like that has come to me from such an awful event.

“I didn’t actually realise how much devastation there was until I arrived here. I had heard there had been this huge earthquake but it is only when you seen it for yourself that you realise how much damage it has done and how it will take years to get things put together again.

“You see a lot of empty spaces where buildings used to be and that’s the hardest thing because you know why. But the Kiwis are so positive and they’re doing their best.”

Lawrence Roberts, a Kaiapoi resident, who had to leave his previous home with his wife after it was damaged in the earthquake, said residents faced both the rebuilding and a battle with insurance companies.

“In a sports mad province like Canterbury, where the calibre of the player is every bit as important as the result, Claire has done a good thing.

“A natural disaster in your city is something beyond imagining. Sure, earthquake drill has been taught for decades but in reality it is terrifying. There were no phones, bridges were damaged and the roads were blocked with traffic and you didn’t know where your loved ones were,” said Mr Roberts, a photographer and lecturer.

“But the earthquakes has turned out to be the easy bit. Dealing with insurers was and is more stressful and more drawn out than the actual earthquakes. Thousands of property owners found themselves holding policies that meant only what the insurance companies wanted them to mean. Always the battle was to stop insurers underestimating damage and reducing their liabilities.”