Canterbury Earthquakes Symposium

The Canterbury Earthquakes Symposium, jointly hosted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Christchurch City Council, was held on 29-30 November 2018 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

The purpose of the event was to share lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes so that New Zealand as a whole can be better prepared in future for any similar natural disasters.

Speakers and presenters included Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister, Hon Dr Megan Woods, Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel,  Ngāi Tahu chief executive, Arihia Bennett, head of the public inquiry into EQC, Dame Sylvia Cartwright, urban planner specialising in disaster recovery and castrophe risk management, Dr Laurie Johnson; Christchurch NZ chief executive and former Press editor, Joanna Norris; academic researcher and designer, Barnaby Bennett; and filmmaker, Gerard Smyth.

About 300 local and national participants from the public, private, voluntary sectors and academia attended the Symposium. They represented those involved in the Canterbury recovery effort, and also leaders of organisations that may be impacted by future disasters or involved in recovery efforts. The focus of the Symposium was on ensuring that we learn from the Canterbury experience and that we can apply those learnings.

Symposium Conference Report

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Christchurch City Council have released on 13 December 2019 the conference report of the Canterbury Earthquakes Symposium.

Canterbury Earthquakes Symposium - Sharing the lessons from the Canterbury experiences: Conference Report - December 2019

The report includes forewords from Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch and Lisa Tumahai, Kaaiwhakahaere, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Syposium Programme

The Symposium programme also included oral and poster presentations from recovery practitioners and within academia that focus on practical and future-focused lessons.

The full Symposium programme can be downloaded here.

Keynote talks: Te Maire Tau, Hon Lianne Dalziel, Arihia Bennett, and John Ryan

Panel discussion: Communicating the recovery story, and welcoming address by Dr Rod Carr

  • Panelists:
    Barnaby Bennett, Co-founder (Freerange Press)
    Joanna Norris, Chief Executive Officer (ChristchurchNZ)
    Gerard Smyth, Film Maker ("When a City Falls" / "Christchurch Dilemmas")
  • Welcoming address
    Dr Rod Carr, Vice-Chancellor (University of Canterbury)

Keynote talks: Dr Laurie Johnson and Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright

Panel discussion: Recovery governance arrangements and closing address by Hon Dr Megan Woods

Panel discussion: Organisational leadership and governance

Panel discussion: Building resilient communities

Panel discussion: Construction and housing

Panel discussion: Mental health lessons

  • Presenters/Panelists
    David Meates, Chief Executive Officer (Canterbury DHB)
    Toni Gutschlag, General Manager Allied Health (Canterbury DHB)
    Associate Professor Caroline Bell (University of Otago)
    Dr Phil Schroeder, Primary Care Coordinator (Canterbury Primary Response Group)
    Nigel Loughton, Clinical Director (Odyssey House Trust Christchurch)

Panel discussion: Business recovery lessons

  • Presenters/panelists
    The Chamber - The Home and Voice of Canterbury Business
    Leeann Watson, Chief Executive Officer (Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce)
    Dr John Vargo, Executive Director (Resilient Organisations)
    Russell Cull, Client Manager & Agency Liaison (ChristchurchNZ)

Panel discussion: Youth in disaster recovery

Panel discussion: Social recovery lessons

Panel discussion: Arts, culture and heritage

Panel discussion: Cross-community perspectives

Panel discussion: Infrastructure recovery

Panel discussion: Community leadership

Panel discussion: Psychosocial recovery and wellbeing lessons

For more information or if you have any questions please contact

EQ Recovery Learning on Facebook and Twitter

Media releases by Ministers on the Beehive website

Christchurch to host earthquake symposium (Hon Dr Megan Woods, 13 June 2018)

Speakers announced for Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery Symposium (Hon Dr Megan Woods,
2 November 2018)


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