Napier, seaport on the east coast of New Zealand's, North Island, a noon last week was at its usual occupations. Housewives from the hilly suburbs to the North, in town for shopping; children at school; a few people resting in the brick Cathedral of St. John or the well ordered art museum. Freight cars from Wellington, 200 mi. southwest, were on sidings; ships were loading frozen and corned meats for export. It was a normal summer noontime.

Then the earth wobbled; stone buildings fell apart; wooden ones crumpled:...

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