New Zealand's classical music star, Hayley Westenra, says her hometown of Christchurch is "still struggling" following the deadly earthquake in February.
The 24-year-old best-selling soprano just left Christchurch for London a few days before the disaster hit Feb. 22.
"It's been a really tough time for everyone," she told The Associated Press. "It wasn't just like there was this big earthquake and then it was over and everyone had a chance to get back up on their feet. There were like continuous aftershocks, so more and more buildings were being destroyed, homes, and just everyone's nerves were really sort of frayed."
Westenra said she had a huge fright when she heard about the 6.3-magnitude quake. Fortunately, her family came out unscathed, although it was a close call for her father in downtown Christchurch.
"I later found out just how lucky my dad had been, because he'd been in the heart of the devastation — the central business district — and the two buildings either side of him had collapsed," Westenra said.
She was in London to talk about her new album "Paradiso," just out last month, and has plans for a national tour at home in November that she hopes will support the worst-hit earthquake areas.
In the meantime, fans can catch Westenra performing at the Rugby World Cup, which is now under way in New Zealand. She's been asked to sing one of the anthems at the Oct. 23 final.
"Obviously I'm hoping I'll be singing the New Zealand one!" she said. "But I don't want to say anything more — I don't want to jinx anything — just that I wish them all the best."