Posts Tagged ‘Canterbury Earthquake 2010’

4 September 2010 – 2 years later

4 September 2012

On 4 September 2010 I was a volunteer Civil Defence controller. Some disconnected impressions:

  • Rude awakening, thinking of Haiti.
  • Thinking the house was coming down, but then it didn’t – in fact, seemed OK.
  • Newstalk ZB off the air – so back to the National Programme.
  • Surprised it wasn’t the alpine fault.
  • Radio report that Harcourts Kaiapoi down – oh! oh!
  • Walking into the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with a guy offering a helicopter. Still dark.
  • Intelligence gathering already underway. Clear biggest problems were around Kaiapoi.
  • Main bridges closed, just in case they were unsafe.
  • EOC starting to hum. Staff drifting in. Crews out checking water, sewer, roads.
  • Got a ride from Southbrook in first helicopter flight with Council engineers Gerard Cleary and Gary Boot – pumping stations and pipelines their priority.
  • Mandeville Bridge all broken.
  • Hilton St by Dudley Drain – culvert has popped up – impassable to vehicles.
  • Chimneys broken.
  • Charles St sewerage pumping station doesn’t look good.
  • Liquefaction all through eastern Kaiapoi.
  • More of it in Kairaki and Pines Beach. Power pole just about down.
  • Ocean outfall pipeline seems OK.
  • A bit of liquefaction at Woodend Beach and Waikuku Beach – not too bad.
  • Pegasus and Woodend look OK.
  • Ashley Bridge north of Rangiora has stayed up – surprise!
  • Rangiora looks good from the air.
  • Back to landing point in Southbrook.

Later in the day:

  • In Kaiapoi now. Bridge closed by Police.
  • Museum really badly knocked around.
  • Corcoran French and old BNZ (John Rhind) buildings on a lean.
  • Former Post Office looks OK, but wouldn’t trust it.
  • Blackwells damaged – excavator is making it safer by knocking bits off it.
  • National and regional news media concentrating on Christchurch.

And through it all, a beautiful spring day.  Many people left their homes, but by nightfall, all had found somewhere to go.  No-one had to be put up at the welfare centre.  The EOC stayed on duty all through the night, but there was little to do until daybreak.

Earthquake Service Awards Made in Waimakariri

30 August 2012

On Wednesday night at the Kaiapoi Rugby Club, a further 43 groups and individuals were awarded service certificates by the Waimakariri community for all that they had done, both within the Waimakariri District (especially Kaiapoi and Pines-Kairaki) and in Christchurch after the February quake.

This followed a similar number of awards a couple of months ago. They ranged from people who had supported the elderly to people who had acted as community advocates to others who had helped at the CTV building from Day One. Many are still working actively in the recovery phase that we all know has a long way to go.

The Waimakariri community is indebted to them.

At both times, public nominations were invited, but if anybody thinks people have been missed, please let us know.

Remember This?

Earthquake Recovery: January to January – What’s Changed?

10 January 2012

Our community is in a very different earthquake recovery scene from what it was a year ago. In January 2010, the Council was project-managing the Government’s intention to remediate land in Kaiapoi to stop the lateral spread of the crust towards lower ground, mainly the Kaiapoi River and the Coutenay Stream.  This would have been a major project, taking 2-3 years.

Hilton Street and Kaiapoi Fire Station, September 2010
Now, of course, residents in defined “red” zones are being made two offers to enable them to shift out and buy or build elsewhere.  The Government is offering to buy their land at 2008 rateable values (Waimakariri) and giving residents a choice between selling their houses to the Government or settling with insurance companies.

Homeowners in Green Zones can repair or rebuild their houses on their own land – although there are also now three grades of foundation requirements, depending on location.  Most of Kaiapoi, the northern end of Pines Beach and the rest of Waimakariri are green-zoned.

This has been exactly what many people wanted – but by no means everyone.  The differences of view in Kaiapoi, Pines-Kairaki, Brooklands and Christchurch hve been well-reported.

There are also a number of unanswered questions, such as what is the long-term future of the red zones?  The Council is unsure about uninsured houses – is it intended that they stay?  Will the Council get the same offers as other homeowners for its red-zoned pensioner houses?  Will we get insurance for underground infrastructure that will have to pass through red-zoned areas to get to green zones, as in Courtenay Drive and Pines Beach? And there are a number of others.
I am confident, however, that 2012 will see a lot of clarification – hopefully soon.

The “Kaiapoi” Fault – What’s the Story?

7 January 2012

I went to the GNS Science briefing yesterday to hear about the latest flurry of aftershocks.  And yes, the 5.2 at 1.21 a.m. this morning did wake me up.

The “Kaiapoi” Fault is the new name for the one they’ve discovered under the sea off the Waimakariri mouth.  It does not pass underneath Kaiapoi.

Most of the recent aftershocks have been out to sea and although they are trending north-east, they aren’t affecting this fault.  The seismologists told us that the Kaiapoi Fault has been active periodically in geological time which means that there has been a progressive release of stress along it.  That should be good news for us in North Canterbury because that release of stress means that it is less likely to be a big one if the fault ruptures.

We are likely to continue to get aftershocks in this part of Canterbury for many years, although as time goes on they will become imperceptible.  Aftershocks from the 1968 Inangahua quake are still going on.

The aftershocks experienced in the Oxford area after the September earthquake were not unexpected.  Apparently the Mount Oxford area is quite seismologically active and, once again, the periodic release of stress is a good thing.

None of this, of course, takes away the very real threat to the region of the Alpine Fault, which is on the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.

Temporary Housing In Kaiapoi

18 May 2011

As you may have seen in this morning’s Press, site preparation temporary housing has started at Kaiapoi Domain in Ranfurly Street.

The article covered the ground well, although I would make the point that we need the housing mainly for people who have to leave their homes while they are rebuilt or undergo major repairs.  People who have left their homes up until now have obviously found accommodation, although if they are finding their current locations unsatisfactory, they may be interested in this new housing.

The Department of Building and Housng (DBH) is building and managing the housing.  The Council’s role is to help in assessing needs, find sites and make sure that the provision coordinates with other recovery work.

Why are Waimakariri and Selwyn Under CERA?

16 May 2011

CERA – the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (or Act – take your pick) is the new acronym that we will be living with for some time. It is due to expire after five yeas. Everybody seems to be pronouncing it “Sarah”.

In some ways, Waimakariri and Selwyn might have been able to get by without it, but both Councils decided that there were some potential advantages for us – even although our damage mostly came in the September earthquake.

The Act gives the Authority powers that might need to be used as we in Waimakariri undertake land remediation on behalf of the the Government and EQC. We also didn’t want to be forgotten about as CERA tackled the horrific damage in Christchurch caused by the February ‘quake.

It’s as simple as that. Provided we two Councils look as though we are coping with our own damage, CERA will probably let us get on with it.

There were fears that CERA might ride over local concerns and charge ahead in spite of the people of Canterbury. Early indications, however, are that this is not happening – there seems to be a real attempt at engagement.

And the post-September Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission (see below)? It’s gone.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission – What Is It?

6 January 2011

Well, it’s a very different beast from the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

CERC was set up by the government in the early days after 4 September and its functions include coordinating the Government and local body recovery effort. It is also supposed to be the chief means of communication between the three councils and the Government.

It consists of three Government appointees, an ECan Commissioner and the Mayors of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

They are retiring Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry director-general Murray Sherwin, Canterbury regional council commissioner Dame Margaret Bazely, earthquake engineer David Hopkins, social expert Arihia Bennett, Mayor Kelvin Coe, Mayor Bob Parker and yours truely.

The Earthquake: How Much Will it Cost the Council (i.e. Ratepayers)?

5 January 2011

The immediate answer is: we don’t know.

It could be anywhere between $10m and $30m, depending on government and council decisions and a whole range of unknown factors. Costs of this size are normally funded by loans because this means that future beneficiaries also get to pay for it.

But to give you an idea of what we could be in for …

The underground infrastructure, notably sewers and water mains, will be covered mainly by insurance.  Additional costs to the ratepayers could come if we, i.e. the Council, decided to relocate sewer mains in the Feldwick Drive / Gray Crescent area, currently located behind the houses, into the streets, which is normal modern practice. (Quite a few sewer mains in Kaiapoi and Rangiora are located behind houses.)

Roads are mainly covered by an 83% NZ Transport Agency subsidy.  We have to find the other 17% but we are trying to persuade the Government to lift the subsidy to 90%.  There should be an opportunity to redesign streets, where residents want it, for little extra cost: it doesn’t, for instance, matter where new kerbing is put from a cost point of view.

Fixing up the parks is totally our cost.  They can’t be insured – although play equipment is.

Community buildings are insured, but in some cases they weren’t adequate before the earthquake, so why would we build back the way they were?  The Kaiapoi Museum, for instance, was owned by the Council.  It was actually a former court house and had become too small.  It seems reasonable that when we build a new museum, that is designed for the purpose and meets the museum’s needs. Insurance won’t cover the improvement, however.  The library was cramped and the associated offices and meeting room (the former Kaiapoi Borough chamber) were also inadequate. A decision on this will not be easy.

The council is also putting staff time into social recovery, although some of this is government funded too.  We take the view that the hardest part is going to be helping the people of our District through what is going to be a very dfficult process.  It is also important that we, the wider community, help community organisations and businesses in the Kaiapoi area through this time. This is why we have already given some financial assistance to the business community through Enterprise North Canterbury and the Kaiapoi Promotion Association.

Another cost has been the loss of income through the remission of rates for those who are not able to live in their houses.  This lasts until 30 June because that is the end of the financial year.  The Council has yet to discuss what will happen after 1 July: whatever recommendation is made will be part of the Draft Annual Plan which will be out for public consultation in February-March.

Rebuilding & Repairing Houses After the Earthquake – Who Does What?

5 January 2011
Damaged House in Kairaki – photo from Governor-General’s Website

Who is responsible for repairing or rebuilding insured houses?

If EQC assess damage at less than $10,000, they will pay out to the owner.  It is up to the owner then to get the repairs done – or whether they they do them at all.
Damage assessed at between $10,000 and $100,000 will be managed by Fletchers – EQC’s project managers. They will assign the work to builders, etc.  If an owener wants to use their own tradespeople, they can – provided that those tradespeople are first certified by Fletchers.
 Fletchers have already established a “hub”, for them to work from,  in Darnley Square, Kaiapoi.
At over $100,000+GST, EQC pays out that amount which then either comes off the owner’s mortagage or becomes available to repair or rebuild the house. 
The work to be done thus becomes a matter between the owner and their insurance company.
The insurance groups also have their project managers, eg. IAG (which includes NZI and State) has engaged Hawkins Construction.

Land Remediation after the Earthquake: What is “Perimeter Treatment”?

4 January 2011

One good place for information is the Tonkin and Taylor Stage 2 Report done for EQC:,0

Perimeter Treatment is the work that will be done in areas adjacent to rivers, such as the Avon in Christchurch and the Kaiapoi and Courtenay in Waimakariri.  The diagram on the left gives the general idea.

During the 7.1 Earthquake on 4 September, some of the worst damage occurred when soils liquefied and then moved sideways toward the rivers.  Big cracks opened up and houses started to fall apart.  Many were held together only by their roofs.  This process is known as lateral spreading and occurred near rivers because there was nothing to stop the liquified soil moving sideways. (The diagram comes from the Tonkin and Taylor Stage 2 Report.)

The perimeter treatment is designed to reduce this lateral spread in the event of a future earthquake.  Remember that the Kaiapoi area experienced liquefaction in the 1901 Cheviot earthquake.  A future quake could occur somewhere else in Canterbury other than Darfield.

The perimeter treatment has been described as “barriers” or  “walls”.  There are actually different ways that they will be constructed.  A common method will be to insert a vibrating probe into the ground to a point below the liquefaction layer.  This vibration consolidates the soils and makes them less prone to liquefaction. Gravel is then poured into the hole and also consolidated.  It takes about 30 minutes for this work and the then another one is done in close proximity.  They are totally underground.  Once done, the ground surface can be built on, have a road put over it or grassed back into parkland.

There will be something like 22 thousand of these columns inserted in the Kaiapoi area.  That’s a lot of half-hours!

Rebuilding Kaiapoi, The Pines and Kairaki

2 January 2011

The rebuilding of the earthquake-affected parts of these three areas involves not only people’s houses, but public spaces as well.

For information on the consultation process today and to see what is coming out of that consultation so far, you can go to:

As you can see from the map above, five areas have  been dilineated.

Nearly Three Months On …

1 January 2011

I said I would keep this blog going.  This might have been a foolish promise, but my New Year’s resolution is … you’ve guessed it.

Obviously life has been busy, but since Christmas we have been able to get a bit of a breather.  Earthquake recovery has, of course dominated, and I’ll report on that in another post.  But also what has happened in the last three months has brought home the richness of community life in the Waimakariri District.

Richard and Dawn Spark and Phil and Jo Seal (Gulliver & Tyler Funeral Directors) have built a chapel at Rossburn Receptions that was opened in October by Hon Kate Wilkinson MP.

As well as funerals, the chapel will be used for weddings etc – in conjunction with the reception business the Sparks run.

On the same day, a concert was held to say to the people of Kaiapoi – hey! we’ve been hit by an earthquake but we can still have a good time.

One of the main organisers was Ben Brennan, newly-elected to the Kaiapoi Community Board.

Yes, a chain comes with the job!

The Rangiora A&P Show is always a highlight of the year and numbers weren’t too badly suppressed by the Earthquake Concert in Christchurch at the same time – although teenagers were noticeably absent in Rangiora.

The Kaiapoi Light Party, an annual event put on by local churches, drew a large crowd – especially of kids who were able to try everything out for free.

The Chamber Gallery in Rangiora staged an exhibition by Veronique Moginot who, although she is of French background, put on a show that had a strong Eastern Orthodox flavour.

This proved an ideal setting for Musica Balkanica who performed their Balkan repertoir in the Chamber Gallery in November.

Kaiapoi was the starting point for a group of peeny-farthings which headed for Oamaru via Oxford.  I presume they made it!

Both Kaiapoi and Rangiora High Schools had Road Crash days put on by the Police and Waimakariri Road Safety, with the help of many others, including the Kaiapoi and Rangiora Volunteer Fire Brigades, St Johns Ambulance and Gulliver and Tyler.

The Kaiapoi Christmas Parade seemed to be bigger than ever and drew large crowds – as did the preceding market in Williams Street. A sunny day with everyone in good spirits!

Congratulations to the Kaiapoi Promotion Association.

I’ve been to North Loburn School twice, for an Enviroschools day and for the inauguration  of active warning signs.  They get a lot of trucks going past the school from the Mount Grey forest and from the Whiterock quarry – and while the trucking companies and drivers are working well with the school, safety is always a concern. Pictured is the principal, Simon Green.

Cust is seeing if a market can work for their community – those in places like Oxford, Ohoka, Woodend and Kaiapoi are going well.

Like Kaiapoi, the Rangiora Christmas Parade had a great day.  Here is the crowd in Victoria Park afterwards.

Our Town Rangiora did well.

Oxford, on the other hand, struck a wet day for their Christmas Parade.  Here the the Union Parish take shelter waiting for it to start – fortunately the rain did stop for the parade itself and all went well.

The Oxford Lions again put on a good community day for Oxford.

It was good to have a temporary library open in Kaiapoi – and the Aquatic Centre too.

The launch of the book Our Soldiers at the Rangiora RSA helped further the growing ties between the Waimakariri District and Passchendaele in Belgium.

I’m with the the author Paul O’Connor, Belgian Consul Lieve Bierque and Bill Whitehead, President of the Rangiora RSA. (Photo from the Northern Outlook).

Josh Smith of Kaiapoi received a Young Totara leadership award from the Rotary Club of Rangiora for the leadership and responsibility he showed working in the welfare centre in Kaiapoi after the earthquake.

Day One …

12 October 2010

The first day in the job had a couple of highlights.

A group of Japanese local councillors visited as part of a study tour to NZ and Australia.  They were here for about an hour, with CEO Jim Palmer taking them through a presentation about the structure of local government in New Zealand.

As well as the usual exchange of symbolic gifts, the delegation presented a contribution to the earthquake recovery fund.

In the evening, we had the second of a series of meeting with Kaiapoi business people about the future development of the central business centre there.  The preparation of a Kaiapoi Town Centre Strategy, which has been going on for over a year, is being fast-tracked to ensure that the rebuilding of the central area after the earthquake doesn’t compromise what the community wants long term.

The meeting was very well attended and more are planned.

Kaiapoi Concert Coming Up

7 October 2010

Why the Portacom Village?

6 October 2010

Why have portacoms suddenly sprouted around the Council building in Rangiora?

They are to provide a base for new short-term staff being taken on to deal with the earthquake recovery.

Most of the cost of these new staff, who will be engineers and the like, will be covered by insurance.

Wouldn’t it have been great …?

3 October 2010

… if the North Canterbury radio station had been functioning on 4 September?

Compass FM is trying to raise the last bit of funding it needs – but in the current economic climate, it is not easy.

The Earthquake – Priorities

3 October 2010
Williams Street outside Corcoran French building, 4 Sep 2010

There are two main priorities:

1. Doing everything necessary to get people back into their homes, whether repaired or   replaced, as soon as possible.

2. Getting Kaiapoi business going again.

Not everything is totally in the Council’s hands.  Much is under the control of the Government, its agencies and the insurers.  What the Council can do is to do its utmost the have the voices of the people of Kaiapoi, The Pines and Kairaki heard.

Getting the sewer and water back on and the roads repaired, etc. can be seen as steps towards achieving the two priorities above.

We are, in effect, in the business of rebuilding communities, both residential and commercial.

Kaiapoi Recovery Assistance Centre Up and Running

21 September 2010

If you run into people from Kaiapoi, The Pines or Kairaki who obviously need assistance, please advise them to go to the Recovery Assistance Centre that has been set up in the Kaiapoi Community Centre in Sewell Street, between Williams and Davie Streets.

Food parcels can be obtained from Kaiapoi Community Services, opposite the Kaikanui Hotel in Williams Street.

The Declaration of Civil Defence Emergency

16 September 2010

This was declared in Waimakariri, Christchurch and Selwyn early on Saturday 4 September and has been renewed twice since then.  It is due to expire at midday today (Thursday).

It has to be signed by the mayor.

The declaration gives wide powers to the Council, operating through the Civil Defence Controllers.  The extraordinary powers have not been used very much, but an example is the curfew that has been imposed on Kaiapoi and Pines-Kairaki.

A Disaster Like This – How Does Waimakariri Civil Defence Respond?

16 September 2010

Civil Defence is not an army ready to spring into action, although we do have small response teams – all of which have been active since the Earthquake.

The central body is the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) located in the Council Chamber.  An emergency power supply is available there.

The central people are the Controllers, rostered on one at a time (we ran this one mainly with  three of us) , and the Council’s Civil Defence Officers, Brennan Wiremu and Alicia Palmer.

There are five functional areas within the EOC, all Council staff pulled out of their normal jobs, although during this major emergency, they were bolstered by people sent from other councils (ranging from the Far North to Invercargill), volunteers, and other council staff.  An example of the latter were our swimming pool staff from Kaiapoi, who have been doing a great job.  The functional areas are:

  • Operations – which basically makes sure things happen.  The Police and Fire are part of this although the Police didn’t hang around, just keeping in contact.
  • Planning and Intelligence – keeping the records, keeping the big picture in front of the EOC.
  • Logistics – accessing material and supplies – everything from teaspoons to helicopters.
  • Welfare – looking after people, from food to accommodation to counselling to information services.
  • Communications – media releases, updating the website, preparing newsletters, etc.

Beyond that, there are all the links with the Government itself, with Government agencies (WINZ, Housing NZ, the Defence Force, EQC, etc.), other agencies like the Insurance Council and Enterprise North Canterbury – as well, of course, with the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and the national equivalent in Wellington within the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Within the Council a Recovery Committee was up and running very early – led by Simon Markham.

And then there are the guys out in the field – Council managers and staff dealing with roads, water, sewers, building safety, people’s welfare and so on.  The Fire Brigades from all over North Canterbury have been involved.  The Police have been brilliant.  Alongside them have be a host of volunteers from the University, Rotary, Community Max, the Amateur Radio Club, the Salvation Army, a large number of voluntary social agencies – an endless list.  They all go to show that we have a resilient and caring community.

The Earthquake – What I Have Been Doing

16 September 2010

For those who follow this blog, you will know that, until yesterday, nothing has happened on it since before the Earthquake.

Many hundreds of people, possibly thousands, have been involved in the response since 4 September.  Much of it has been hidden from the public view.  At the end of last week I took two staff members into Kaiapoi and Pines to have a look.  They had both been working extremely long hours in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Rangiora but had not actually seen the area and the people they were working to help.

The EOC was in operation very quickly – well before 6.00am on the 4th.  We have four Civil Defence Controllers, and most of the controlling work has been carried by two staff members, Nick Harrison and Bruce Thompson, and a volunteer – me.  My role as a Controller has nothing to do with my role as a Councillor.

I have been on duty every day except one, and outside my time as a controller, I have door-knocked in Kaiapoi (starting on Sunday 5 September) and Pines Beach, delivered information leaflets, started to plan for the Recovery phase and reported to various groups about what is going on. I have also tried to keep contact with the Welfare Centres in Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Tuahiwi.  In the first week, my days were about 15-18 hours each.  Every morning has started at 7.00am.

Other things, like this blog, have gone by the wayside!

Some of My Earthquake Photos

16 September 2010

%d bloggers like this: