12 Jun 2018

A two-day Symposium on the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes will be held later this year.

The symposium will serve as a forerunner to  bigger international event that will be held in 2021 to mark the 10th anniversary of the quakes, Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods and Mayor Lianne Dalziel  announced this morning.

Earthquake damaged buildings.

Buildings collapsed and 185 lives were lost when Christchurch was hit by a devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011.

The Symposium, on 29 and 30 November, will be co-hosted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Christchurch City Council at the University of Canterbury.

"The Symposium will be an event of national importance, sharing lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes so that New Zealand as a whole can be better prepared in future for any similar natural disasters,'' Dr Woods says.

"The Canterbury earthquakes were unprecedented. They provide us with many valuable lessons, which we continue to review and learn from to ensure our communities are more resilient and prepared. 

"While the Symposium is a great opportunity to collaborate at a national level on the lessons learned, it will also provide the platform into a much bigger international event to be held on the 10th anniversary of the earthquakes in 2021,'' the Minister says.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says up to 250 local and national participants from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors and academia will be invited to the Symposium. It will also be preceded by a series of workshops to be held in the third quarter of this year.

"Both the Symposium and workshops will give expression to the experience of the community, alongside recovery practitioners and academics from around the country, who will each have a chance to share their work. This will help inform how we respond and recover from future disasters in New Zealand.

"From optimum governance arrangements through to the effective and efficient delivery of vast amounts of repair and rebuilding work, it's about what can we learn from our experiences, not just in Greater Christchurch, but also now from Hurunui and Kaikoura, so that the benefits of our experience can flow into future response and recovery efforts.

"We also need to embed the importance of engaging the wisdom of the community in all that we do," the Mayor says.

Dr Woods says New Zealand's geography exposes it to many natural hazard risks so being prepared for what is next is everyone's responsibility.

"Kiwis need confidence New Zealand's disaster and recovery systems are robust. We must keep learning from what's happened in the past, to ensure we do our best to get it right moving forward," the Minister says.

* Recovery practitioners or academics interested in presenting research at the symposium are invited to submit a short abstract via the submissions portal(external link). The closing date for submissions is 27 July and notifications of decisions will be made by 17 August.