Christchurch earthquake survivor meets paramedics who saved her life

When the Christchurch earthquake struck on this day ten years ago, 164 people were seriously injured in the event.

Helen Grice was left a paraplegic when the chimney of her family home in Fendalton fell on her. Two paramedics helped her out that day who she's always wanted to meet and thank.

There are only a few moments from that day that she can remember, but one thing she'll never forget is the people that came to her rescue.

"On the day they did so much to protect my neck and my body. They climbed through a huge amount of debris with lots of aftershocks," she says.

Grice has always wanted to reconnect with the two paramedics that helped save her life, Blair Andrews and Warren McKie, and on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, she got her wish.

She still lives in the home that nearly claimed her life.

"I certainly do recall coming around here," Andrews says.

Their three lives are intertwined by the most harrowing of circumstances, and to remember that day means taking a trip down the darkest of memory lanes.

"The chimney had come down, it was up here wasn't it?" Andrews says.

"And I was trapped under it in the corner of the room," Grice says.

Andrews says it was "tricky" for them to figure out how they were going to get to Grice.

"But it was reasonably obvious to us the injury, so that was an added level of complexity for us because we didn't want to make you worse," he says.

Grice spent the next six months in hospital. A decade on, she has just one word to describe these paramedics - heroes.

"There's different people that run towards the fire, and these guys ran towards the trouble," she says. "They represented a lot of safety and stability to me."

But 'hero' is not an accolade Andrews and McKie wear comfortably.

"That day there was a team of 500,000 people across Christchurch and New Zealand," Andrews says. "There's people that did things that day that you wouldn't expect anyone to do in their lives. They're the heroes. We were just doing what we were expected to do."

Andrews and McKie were two of the many people who risked their lives that day to save others, something Grice, and many more in Christchurch, will be forever grateful for.