2010 - 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes

Christchurch and Canterbury experienced a sequence of large earthquakes during 2010 and 2011. The most damaging of these occurred on 22 February 2011.

Most of the damaged buildings in Christchurch and Lyttelton have either been removed or made safe and the city has commenced a significant rebuild process.

While seismic activity is declining, aftershocks in this sequence of earthquakes are expected to continue for several years, decreasing in intensity and frequency over time.

What to do in the event of an earthquake

If you are: 


  • Move no more than a few steps to a safe place, drop, cover, and hold on.
  • Do not attempt to run outside.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops. Stay away from windows, chimneys, and shelves containing heavy objects.

In bed - hold on and stay there, and protect your head and body with a pillow and blankets.

Outdoors - move as short a distance as possible to find a clear spot, away from buildings, trees and power lines. Drop to the ground.

In a car - slow down and drive to a clear place (as above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

In a lift - stop at the nearest floor and get out.

More information is available on the Earthquake Commission website.

Red zone cordon lifted

The final "red zone" cordon around Christchurch's city centre was officially lifted on 30 June 2013, bringing an end to the New Zealand Defence Force's longest-ever domestic deployment.

The cordon was continuously staffed by soldiers for 857 days after the closure of the city centre following the February 22, 2011 earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key thanked about 120 members of the Defence Force in person as the soldiers were dismissed from duty. He said the soldiers had been a "reassuring presence" for the people of Christchurch as they commenced the rebuild.

Scientific information about earthquakes


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