September 2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake

Page 2 – Timeline: 4-16 September 2010

This timeline lists events and actions related to the September 2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake and its immediate aftermath. It begins with the major earthquake on 4 September and ends with the lifting of local states of emergency in Christchurch City and Selwyn and Waimakariri districts on 16 September.

Want to share your experience of the September earthquake? Visit www.quakestories.govt.nz

The times given are when information was released on or via websites; it may have reached residents through news media outlets somewhat later. At present we are unsure when some information was circulated to residents of Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. We’d be pleased to receive additional information and corrections - email info@nzhistory.net.nz

Saturday 4 September

4.35 a.m. A strong earthquake strikes Canterbury. Initial reports put the magnitude at 7.4, the epicentre 30 km west of Christchurch and the depth at 33 km. Later analysis shows the magnitude was 7.1, the epicentre 40 km west of Christchurch, near Darfield, and the depth 11 km. The earthquake causes extensive power outages, and damage to water and sewerage systems.

4.36 a.m. The first tweet about the earthquake is received. Ten more follow in the next minute and the ‘hashtag #earthquake ‘burst’ at 4:39, #CHCHQuake at 4.41, #eqnz at 5.13’. [1] Presenter Vicki McKay, on Radio New Zealand (RNZ) National’s All night programme, comments on the earthquake, finds no information on Geonet and asks listeners to text her on 2101 if they felt it. Almost 50 texts are received within five minutes. McKay reads out some text messages, and relays official updates as they become available. [2]

4.56 a.m. The first aftershock strikes with a magnitude of 5.6 and a depth of 10 km.

5 a.m. MediaWorks’ local host for radio station The Breeze, John Dunne, reaches the building and later goes on air, ‘relying on phone calls via cellphone and his local knowledge’. The Radio Live network continues its overnight broadcast from Auckland because of damage to its Christchurch building. The local host for Newstalk ZB, Mike Yardley, reports by phone. Northern network newsrooms are ‘fed with on-the-spot information, descriptions and commentary’ by ‘local journalists, radio managers, students from the New Zealand Broadcasting School, sound archive staff and visiting radio producers’.[3]

5.45 a.m. The Canterbury Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Office issues a media statement with this advice for residents:

  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on.
  • Help those around you if you can.
  • Report injuries or fires to the emergency services (dial 111).
  • Put out small fires. Evacuate the building if the fires cannot be controlled.
  • Boil water for at least 10 minutes prior to drinking it.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes or photos for the loss adjustor.
  • Do not go sightseeing and stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Listen to the radio for advice and information.

6.40 a.m. The Christchurch District Health Board issues this advice:

  • All hospitals are operational.
  • There have been no major injuries in the hospitals in the earthquake.
  • Staff are still assessing damage.
  • Night staff are staying at work.
  • Staff due to start work should come in to the hospitals if it is safe and they are able to.
  • Members of the public should not come in to hospital unless it is an emergency.

6.43 a.m. The Ministry of Civil Defence issues advice, including:

  • Check yourself first for injuries and get first aid if necessary before helping injured or trapped persons.
  • Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. Use the stairs, not an elevator and when outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.
  • Do not overload the phone lines with non-emergency calls.
  • Help people who require special assistance - infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.

In this statement the Director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, John Hamilton, advises that the National Crisis Management Centre in Wellington has been activated ‘to monitor the situation and co-ordinate central government response if required’.

7 a.m. ONE news breaks into normal programming (Country calendar) and begins broadcasting updates about the earthquake.

7 a.m. RNZ begins a three-hour special Morning report hosted by Kim Hill and Mary Wilson in place of its scheduled Saturday morning programmes.

7.10 a.m. The Canterbury Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Office issues a further media statement, noting that:

  • Canterbury, Selwyn, Timaru, Waimakariri and Hurunui districts have activated their emergency centres.
  • There are power outages across these districts.
  • Emergency services, including hospitals, are operating throughout the affected areas. For minor injuries, Christchurch residents can go to the 24-hour surgery on Bealey Avenue.

Civil Defence also urges residents to avoid all non-essential travel, to use cellphones only for emergencies, and to continue listening to the radio for advice and information.

7.25 a.m. The Canterbury Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Office advises that all Metro (Christchurch city) bus services are suspended until further notice.

7.27 a.m. The Christchurch District Health Board issues further advice:

  • People with minor injuries in Christchurch following this morning's earthquake should look after each other. If they need medical assistance for minor injuries, they should go the 24-Hour After Hours Surgery on Bealey Avenue.
  • The Riccarton Clinic and Moorhouse After Hours Medical Centre are opening shortly.
  • Please do not come in to Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department unless it is an emergency.
  • St Johns are encouraging people not to press their medical alarm unless it is an emergency.
  • The ambulance service is operating for people if they dial 111.
  • St Johns are also advising people to check on their neighbours.

8 a.m. ONE news is continuously live, reporting on developments and conveying civil defence messages.

8.13 a.m. The Christchurch District Health Board issues further advice:

  • Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department has seen a number of people this morning with minor injuries - mainly cuts and bruises, but some broken bones.
  • There have been two people with more major injuries. One man in his fifties who was hit by a falling chimney. He is in a serious condition in ICU.  Another man in his fifties has serious injuries after being cut by glass in the earthquake.
  • We are still assessing damage to hospitals and still experiencing aftershocks.

It continues to ask people with minor injuries to look after each other or visit clinics that are open; that only those who need medical attention for serious injuries visit Christchurch Hospital; and that people check on their neighbours.

9 a.m. Lines company Orion New Zealand advises that the electricity supply to 90 per cent of the city should be operational by nightfall.

9.07 a.m. The New Zealand Police advise of reports of structural damage and minor injuries, and recommend that people take care when travelling because of damage to roads.

9.15 a.m. GNS Science issues a media release revising the location (10 km south-east of Darfield, 20 km south-east of Coalgate, 40 km west of Christchurch), magnitude (7.1) and depth (10 km) of the earthquake

9.15 a.m. The New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) issues a media release advising that Christchurch Airport is closed and that all Air New Zealand flights through Christchurch are cancelled until midday. (The entire South Island rail network was also closed following the earthquake while staff checked rail tracks and bridges.)

9.25 a.m. Canterbury Police advises people to check on family, friends and neighbours, and stay off the roads if it all possible.

9.30 a.m. Telecom advises that ‘its services are standing up well’, with ‘the majority of issues power-related’. It asks customers to help conserve power on the mobile network by using cellphones for emergency calls only. Telecom also notes that while wireless landline phones will not work because of the loss of power, analogue non-wireless landline handsets will work and can be used to make landline calls.

9.33 a.m. A state of local emergency is declared in Christchurch.

9.49 a.m. The NZPA issues a media release advising that the earthquake has had no major impact on the government-owned broadcast and telecommunications company, Kordia. ‘Its major broadcast facility for Christchurch (Sugarloaf) has not sustained any damage and is operational’, as are other sites in the South Island

9.51 a.m. The NZPA issues a media release from GNS Science containing further information about the quake. Duty Seismologist John Ristau advises that:

  • aftershocks are likely to continue for days, even weeks;
  • typically, the largest aftershocks occur within the first 48 hours of a large earthquake;
  • aftershocks generally decline in frequency and size over time.

The release notes that seismologists are describing it as New Zealand's most significant earthquake, in terms of damage, since the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake (magnitude 7.8).

9.52 a.m. The Department of Labour warns business owners, managers and staff ‘to be very careful if they’re going into their workplaces’.

9.53 a.m. The NZPA issues a media release noting that medical radiation therapists (radiographers) have abandoned strike action planned for 4 September.

10 a.m. A state of local emergency is declared in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

10.29 a.m. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority issues advice to residents on how to minimise the spoilage of food and water.

10.30 a.m. The South Island rail network is reopened to trains running north of Kaikoura and south of Dunedin.

10.30 a.m. 2degrees advises that its mobile network is largely unaffected and that ‘customers can have the confidence to make calls and send texts as they would normally’, but should ‘take all practical steps to preserve their mobile phones' handset battery life’.

11 a.m. Telecom advises that ‘its services continue to stand up well’. It reiterates the need to conserve power on the mobile network; cellphones should be used only for emergency calls, with minimal transmission of images and video.

11 a.m. TV3's current affairs show The nation broadcasts as an hour-long live earthquake special which includes an interview with Prime Minister John Key. The channel ‘started regular news updates early this morning with the breaking news and has constantly updated audiences on the hour throughout the day’. MediaWorks station Radio Live also provides ‘live and comprehensive coverage of today's developments to radio audiences nationwide’.

11.46 a.m. The New Zealand Transport Agency advises that its initial inspections show that the region’s state highways ‘appear to have held up well’ but urges residents to ‘only travel if it’s essential’. The state highway between Methven and Windwhistle is closed.

11.48 a.m. AA Insurance announces that it has called in additional staff to its call centres to handle an expected increase in claims. It provides safety tips and gives advice on how to protect home and contents, and how to lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) or AA Insurance.

11:59 a.m. The NZ Red Cross advises that two of its emergency management teams are in action across the region.

12 p.m. RNZ delivers a special half-hour Midday report following the news bulletin. This includes interviews with the prime minister, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and key officials.

12.27 p.m. The New Zealand Police advise that they have cordoned off Christchurch’s inner city until the next day and that cordons will be manned throughout the night. The affected area is bounded by Montreal, Kilmore, Madras and St Asaph streets.

1.30 p.m. Christchurch Airport resumes operations.

1.33 p.m. NZ Post advises that its services have been severely disrupted; there will be no Saturday mail deliveries and PostShops will not open.

1.34 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release from the Earthquake Commission containing advice on lodging a claim and dealing with damage or mess:

  • If possible, take photos before moving anything or tidying up. That makes assessment of the claim easier.
  • Essential services such as toilets and water systems can be repaired - but keep everything the repairer replaces, and keep a copy of the bill.
  • Spillages or crockery and glass breakages can be cleared up, but don't throw away anything that is not perishable. Ruined or spilt food and other perishables can be disposed of, but make a list of the items as you bury, burn, or dump them.

1.40 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release with advice from the Insurance Council that is similar to earlier advice from AA Insurance and the Earthquake Commission.

1.41 p.m. The NZPA issues a TVNZ media release noting that ONE news ‘will continue its live coverage of the Canterbury Quake throughout the afternoon’. There will be ‘a special 90 minute bulletin of ONE News at 6pm and hourly updates from 8pm throughout the evening’. The release continues: ‘TVNZ in Christchurch is well resourced with back-up generators, satellite news-gathering equipment and a team of experienced reporters, producers, camera operators and technical staff to continue providing extensive coverage of this state of emergency’.

2.27 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release advising that a state of emergency is likely to be in place in Christchurch City until noon on Monday, and in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts for at least 24 hours. It states that ‘people living in all areas of Christchurch city, Rolleston and Banks Peninsula are being advised to conserve water and boil drinking water for three minutes because of potential contamination from broken water and sewer pipes’.

2.28 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release advising that the fixed-line telecommunications network in central Christchurch is ‘stabilising’. As a result, lines company Chorus is refocusing on its rural network.

2.44 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release with information about the roles to be played by several groups of scientists who are heading to Christchurch.

2.48 p.m. The Canterbury District Health Board issues an updated media advisory:

  • Lincoln Maternity Hospital and Burwood Birthing Unit will be closed until further notice. Women who were intending to birth at either unit should go to Christchurch Women's Hospital. Staff at Christchurch Women's Hospital have been advised and will be expecting more women to arrive there. Women affected by the changes are being contacted along with Lead Maternity Carers and staff at the closed units.
  • Numbers attending Christchurch Hospital have been steady. The hospital is functioning well and is fully staffed. People presenting to the Emergency Department as a result of the earthquake have had mainly minor injuries. The number of cardiology admissions to the hospital is higher than normal.
  • Damage done to Canterbury's hospitals by this morning's earthquake is still being assessed. The water supply has been restored at Burwood Hospital and is running as usual at Christchurch Hospital, but extra water is being supplied for patients and staff at Hillmorton and The Princess Margaret hospitals. Christchurch and Burwood hospitals are no longer using generators for electricity. Hillmorton and The Princess Margaret hospitals have been told that the main power supply will be running again in the next few hours.
  • Christchurch social workers have activated their emergency response team and are working with patients, particularly the frail elderly.
  • As emphasised by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker today, health issues relating to water and sewerage are now the most pressing.
  • Christchurch's after-hours surgeries - the 24 Hour After Hours Surgery in Bealey Avenue, Moorhouse Medical Centre and Riccarton Clinic - are reporting a steady number of patients but that they are coping well.
  • People with minor injuries are advised to care for one another and if they need medical assistance to visit one of the after-hours surgeries. The Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital is for medical emergencies. Anyone needing an ambulance should as usual dial 111. Ambulance services are functioning as usual.

2.52 p.m. Auckland City’s mayor, John Banks, announces that he has offered Christchurch ‘any support and assistance that is needed’.

3.18 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release noting that 3 news (at 6 p.m.) ‘will be a 90-minute special covering all aspects of the disaster, with journalist Mike McRoberts reporting and presenting live from Christchurch’, and that tomorrow ‘The Nation will screen as a two-hour live special from 8am, hosted by Sean Plunket, with John Campbell reporting on the latest developments’.

3.53 p.m.  The Salvation Army announces that it has launched a ‘Canterbury Earthquake Appeal’. It has already been asked to feed around 1000 people in at least two Christchurch locations and has been responding to the emergency situation.

5 p.m. RNZ delivers an hour-long special Checkpoint programme following the news bulletin.

5 p.m. These road closures are advised by the Christchurch City Council: Beachville Road, Anzac Drive between Wainoni and Dyers Road, Bridge Street, Humphreys Drive between Dyers Road and Ferrymead Bridge, Dyers Road between Metro Place and Breezes Road.

Around 5 p.m. Prime Minister John Key arrives in Christchurch from Whenuapai on a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft. He tours the CBD with mayor Bob Parker.

6 p.m. Both ONE news and 3 news present special 90-minute news programmes.

6 p.m. These bridge closures are advised by the Christchurch City Council: Bridge Street, Sabys Road, Gloucester Street, Pembrook Street, Spencerville Road.

6.51 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release noting that ANZ Bank New Zealand has announced a $1 million donation to the proposed Mayoral Relief Fund ‘to support Canterbury residents and businesses in the aftermath of today's earthquake’, as well as ‘a special package of assistance for personal and business customers impacted by the earthquake’.

6.53 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release noting that Westpac Bank has announced ‘a special relief package to assist customers’.

6.56 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release with the following updates from the police:

  • Canterbury Police will be supported by 80 Auckland officers who are flying in this evening to assist with general duties and recovery.
  • The CBD will remain shut overnight with police manning cordons throughout the area. No licensed premises will be open in the CBD, and members of the public will not be allowed within the cordon.
  • Police are urging people to stay at home and out of the central city until further notice.
  • There is a formal curfew in place under Section 88 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • The areas affected by this curfew are the area of the CBD enclosed by Kilmore Street, Madras Street, Montreal Street and St Asaph Street, which is currently cordoned off, and the shopping centre and township area of Kaiapoi.
  • The curfew has been imposed to protect the public from falling debris. Any person breaching the curfew can be arrested. Police are asking for public cooperation so that they do not have to waste time dealing with these offences.

6.55 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release noting that TelstraClear has announced a donation of $100,000 to the proposed Mayoral Relief Fund.

6.57 p.m. The NZPA issues a media release updating the impact of the earthquake on the rail network:

  • Rail links to the city from the south should be restored later tonight, allowing bulk supplies of drinking water from Temuka to reach Christchurch.
  • It is expected that the Main North Line will be reopened as far south as Rangiora later today. Damage at Kaiapoi is extensive and the line is likely to be closed there for up to three days.
  • The Midland Line to the West Coast is expected to be reopened tomorrow, after track damage at Rolleston has been repaired.
  • The Lyttelton tunnel has been inspected and is safe, and there appears to be no track damage in central Christchurch.

7 p.m. A curfew comes into effect in the Christchurch CBD; in the shopping centre and township of Kaiapoi (Williams Street, between Beach Road and Holland Drive); and in Pines Beach and Kairaki Beach.

7 p.m. Christchurch City Council welfare centres are open at:

  • Linwood College
  • Burnside High School
  • Addington Raceway

Centres are also open in Selwyn District at Rolleston Community Centre on Rolleston Drive, and in Waimakariri District at Kaiapoi North School.

Pets belonging to people displaced by the earthquake can be left at the Animal Shelter, 10 Metro Place (off Dyers Road).

A sector post has been established at South New Brighton School.

7.45 p.m. The Christchurch City Council advises residents to assume that tap water is contaminated and boil it for three minutes before using it for drinking, brushing teeth or washing food. Those without water to flush their toilets should make a makeshift toilet by lining a bin with two or more plastic bags.

8.15 p.m. The Christchurch City Council issues an update to residents:

  • Residents should secure tarpaulins, cracked windows and other vulnerable items against expected strong north-westerly gusts.
  • The three Christchurch Eco-Depots (recycling stations) will be open on Sunday.
  • All Council Leisure Centres will be closed until at least Monday morning.
  • Those with a functioning water supply should flush their toilets sparingly.
  • Power has been restored in most areas, but cannot be restored in the central city until all buildings have been checked

8.45 p.m. The Christchurch City Council thanks those who have offered assistance to the people of Christchurch; at the moment the city is coping well. A Mayoral Relief Fund will be established in the coming days.

Sunday 5 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Water and power supplies have been restored across most of the region. Cordons and curfews remain in place. The Christchurch CBD cordon is reduced on Sunday evening to the area bounded by Armagh Street, Durham Street/Cambridge Terrace, Madras Street and St Asaph Street. Some other roads are closed or have detours in place.

A number of other services resume. Organisations including Civil Defence, Telecom, Orion, Christchurch City and the Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils, Canterbury District Health Board, Environment Canterbury, New Zealand Transport Agency, NZ Post and insurers and banks provide updates on their services. The region’s residents continue to be advised to:

  • minimise travel;
  • conserve power on the mobile network;
  • look after friends and neighbours;
  • boil water, including water collected from tankers;
  • flush toilets sparingly;
  • plan for the bad weather that is forecast to hit the region;
  • use welfare centres if required.

Residents are also advised that all schools in Christchurch, Selwyn and Kaiapoi will be closed on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 September, and that no bus services will operate on Monday 6 September.

People outside the region are asked to postpone non-essential travel to Christchurch.

Hospital services remain affected (e.g., Lincoln Maternity Hospital and Burwood Birthing Unit remain closed, with women directed to Christchurch Women’s Hospital).

The government establishes a helpline (0800 779997) on which people can get information about ‘income support, housing options, health issues, community assistance, clean-up and how to contact any other services people might need’.

Environment Canterbury establishes a website (canterburyearthquake.org.nz) to carry information from central and local government agencies and other organisations supporting the earthquake response. (This website has been archived in the National Digital Heritage Archive and can be searched via the National Library website. The first notices were issued in mid-afternoon on 5 September.)

Further organisations to announce donations to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Fund include: the Fiji Club of New Zealand, Pyne Gould Corporation, National Dairy, Westfield, and the Bank of New Zealand. Federated Farmers offers to send in milk tankers full of water.

Monday 6 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City, and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work continues to restore water and power supplies to some areas. Cordons and curfews remain in place. The CBD cordon is further reduced, with the blocks between Gloucester and Armagh streets reopened. Some other roads are closed or have detours in place. All schools are closed. Continued disruption to health services includes the closure of Akaroa Hospital. There are no bus services. Residents continue to be advised to:

  • boil water;
  • conserve water;
  • look after friends and neighbours.

People outside the region continue to be asked to postpone non-essential travel to Christchurch.

Lyttelton Port resumes full operations.

Rubbish collection in Christchurch proceeds as normal, with two exceptions. The residents of cordoned-off areas of New Brighton have to take bins to the end of their streets. In cordoned-off areas of the CBD, a daily bag collection service operates.

Christchurch City Council advises that it and the Historic Places Trust ‘are working closely with the Building Evaluation team to inspect buildings within the central city – a large number of which are heritage and character buildings’. Christchurch landmarks which had fared well included ‘the Provincial Chambers, the Christchurch Cathedral, the Arts Centre, Christ's College and the Public Trust building and other buildings on Oxford Terrace’. However, the Repertory Theatre in Kilmore Street has ‘suffered extensive damage’.

Civil Defence advises people to stay away from riverbeds along Canterbury’s major alpine rivers. Because of heavy rain and ‘particularly because of earthquake damage, people should keep clear of the stopbanks of the Waimakariri River below SH1 and the Kaiapoi stopbanks on the west side in the vicinity of Courtenay Stream and also above the Williams Street Bridge on the south side’. This advisory is lifted later in the day.

Reports begin to appear about the impact of the earthquake on the New Zealand dollar, bonds, stock exchange and economy, and on the challenges facing workers returning to business premises.

Among the organisations announcing donations to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Fund is the government, which contributes $5 million.

Senior Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee becomes the Minister responsible for Earthquake Recovery and a Cabinet Committee on Canterbury Reconstruction is formed.

Tuesday 7 September

Strong aftershocks occur overnight.

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work continues to restore water and power supplies to households and businesses. Cordons and curfews remain in place. The CBD cordon is reduced to the 10 city blocks enclosed by Worcester, St Asaph, Colombo and Madras streets. Some other roads remain closed or have detours in place. All schools are closed. Continued disruption to health services includes the closure of Akaroa Hospital and the postponement of non-urgent elective surgery. Residents continue to be advised to:

  • boil water;
  • conserve water;
  • look after friends and neighbours.

People planning to visit the region are asked to check their travel arrangements, with www.christchurchnz.co.nz providing updated information.

The Burnside Welfare Centre and Christchurch Airport’s domestic terminal are closed because of damage caused by aftershocks.

The Kaiapoi Welfare Centre moves from Kaiapoi North School to rugby clubrooms.

Bus services resume, with some alterations.

Christchurch City Council issues initial advice to the owners of heritage buildings and structures.

KiwiRail’s coal services to and from the West Coast resume, but aftershocks cause some disruption.

The government sets aside $15 million to subsidise wages paid to staff by small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) in Canterbury which cannot operate and are unable to pay their workers.

Wednesday 8 September

After further strong tremors overnight, at 7.49 a.m. a 5.1-magnitude aftershock with a depth of 6 km hits 10 km north-west of Diamond Harbour. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker encourages resident to stay home. The many impacts include power outages, stress on the mobile network and reductions in hospital services. Lyttelton Port and Tunnel are both closed temporarily while checks are carried out. As the smell of sulfur hangs over parts of the city, rumours circulate of a fire or other damage to Mobil’s oil terminals at Lyttelton or Woolston. Bus services continue but the aftershocks cause some disruption. A number of libraries were to reopen today, but by midday all Christchurch City Council facilities are closed.

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work to restore water and power supplies to some areas continues. While Kaiapoi’s CBD reopens, the Christchurch CBD cordon is extended following the 5.1 aftershock. Curfews remain in place between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. in both areas. Some other roads remain closed or have detours in place. Schools remain closed.

The requirement to boil water is lifted in Christchurch, and in the Selwyn District with the exception of the area served by the Malvern Hills rural water supply.

The Canterbury Earthquake Appeal is now the only appeal fund. It has the backing of all Canterbury mayors and is coordinated by the New Zealand Red Cross.

Christchurch City Council grants a week’s grace on rates payments due.

Christchurch City Council issues initial advice to the owners of residential buildings and further advice to the owners of heritage buildings.

John Key and other government ministers visit hard-hit areas outside Christchurch, including Kaiapoi and Hororata. Returning to Wellington, Key makes a ministerial statement about the earthquake in Parliament before other party leaders also make speeches.

Minister Brownlee announces the establishment of an official government website: www.canterburyearthquake.govt.nz.

Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett announces the provision of $2.5 million for counselling support for people affected by the Canterbury earthquake.

KiwiRail’sTranzCoastal passenger train resumes operation between Picton and Christchurch.

Thursday 9 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work continues to restore water and power supplies to some areas. The Christchurch CBD cordon and curfew remain in place. Some other roads are closed or have detours in place. Most schools remain closed. Disruption to health services continues.

The requirement to boil water is lifted for parts of Waimakariri District, but remains in force in Kaiapoi, Waikuku Beach, Pines Beach and Kairaki, Woodend town and Woodend Beach.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and other agencies express concern that discredited advice about a ‘triangle of life’ is being circulated. Proponents of this theory suggest that when a major earthquake strikes, building occupants should move as close as possible to a solid item such as heavy furniture or an interior wall, rather than ‘drop, cover and hold’ where they are.

It is announced that the imminent local-body elections will proceed as planned, with voting papers being posted to residents in mid-September.

The government appoints Allan Baird as Rural Emergency Coordinator to supervise recovery work on earthquake-damaged farm properties.

Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett announces the withdrawal of $7.5 million from the Community Response Contingency Fund to enable grants to be made to ‘community-based social services agencies’ dealing with social impacts of the earthquake.

KiwiRail’sTranzAlpine passenger train resumes operation between Christchurch and Greymouth.

Friday 10 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work continues to restore water and power supplies to some areas. The Christchurch CBD cordon is lifted, although some streets remain partially closed. Some other roads remain closed or have detours in place. Most schools remain closed. Disruption to health services continues.

The Christchurch bus exchange at the intersection of Lichfield and Colombo streets becomes fully operational.

Water still needs to be boiled in Malvern Hills (Selwyn District) and in Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki (Waimakariri District).

At 10.15 p.m. a significant landslide near Rosy Morn Stream, south of Kaikoura, closes State Highway 1 and the rail link between Canterbury and Marlborough.

Saturday 11 September

Both State Highway 1 and the railway line remain closed south of Kaikoura following the landslide.

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work continues to restore water and power supplies to some areas. Some roads remain closed or have detours in place. Disruptions to health services continue.

Christchurch City Council encourages people to venture back into the CBD by offering free weekend parking in its parking buildings in Kilmore and Tuam streets. It also calls on the owners of ‘damaged heritage listed buildings and character buildings to work with the Council’ to preserve them.

While asking for volunteers to help clean up the town, Waimakariri District Council also requests that sightseers ‘stay away from Kaiapoi and Pines Beach/Kairaki. Locals and workers are being bothered by rubberneckers coming to look at earthquake damage.’

Residents in the Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki areas of Waimakariri District still need to boil water.

Sunday 12 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work to restore water and power services is now largely complete. Sewerage remains an issue in Waimakariri District and parts of Christchurch City. Some roads are still closed or have detours in place. Disruptions to health services continue.

A Christchurch District Welfare Centre opens in Cowles Stadium on Pages Road, replacing the welfare centre at Linwood College. Addington Welfare Centre remains open.

Water must still be boiled in these areas of Waimakariri District: Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki.

The New Zealand Red Cross advises that donations to the Earthquake Appeal Fund are still coming in from all over the country. A special heritage appeal fund is launched.

The government helpline has receive more than 10,000 calls.

EQC (the Earthquake Commission) has received more than 45,000 claims.

Monday 13 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work to restore water and power supplies is largely complete. Sewerage remains an issue in Waimakariri District and parts of Christchurch City. Some roads remain closed or have detours in place. Disruptions to health services continue.

Water still needs to be boiled in Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki.

Most schools reopen and many people return to work. Reduced speed limits are in place in the Christchurch CBD and residents are urged to catch buses.

The Christchurch City Council opens a building recovery office at 53 Hereford Street and a business recovery website (www.recovercanterbury.co.nz) goes live.

Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and his wife, Lady Susan, visit Canterbury.

Major businesses operating on the West Coast offer a ‘Break from the quake’ holiday package to 1000 Canterbury residents who have been affected by the earthquake. Businesses and communities in other regions soon make similar offers.

The Labour Party appoints Clayton Cosgrove as its spokesperson for Earthquake Recovery.

Tuesday 14 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. Work to restore water and power supply is largely complete. Sewerage remains an issue in Waimakariri District and parts of Christchurch City. Some roads remain closed or have detours in place. More schools reopen. Most health services have been restored, but some hospitals and birthing units remain closed.

The Earthquake Appeal Fund offers one-off emergency grants ‘to people who are no longer able to live in their usual homes due to structural damage’.

The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 becomes law. A detailed timeline of the government and parliamentary response to the earthquake can be found here: http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/00PLSocRP10051/9e419cbed0ebef3bb664153443a295a9619f2d81

Wednesday 15 September

Local states of emergency remain in force in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

Warnings are issued about the contamination of waterways and floodwater, and the hazards of working on buildings containing asbestos.

Thursday 16 September

The local states of emergency in Christchurch City and in Selwyn and Waimakariri districts are lifted.

Footnotes

[1] Cited in Ruth Zanker, ‘Heroic radio: a study of radio responses in the immediate aftermath of the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand’, MediaNZ, vol. 14, no. 1, 2014, accessed 26 August 2015.

[2] Radio New Zealand/Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, Canterbury Earthquake Saturday 4th September 2010: The Radio New Zealand response – programming, coverage and feedback, Radio New Zealand, Wellington, 2010.

[3] For further detail on the radio responses, see Zanker, ‘Heroic radio’.

Sources

Canterbury District Health Board, media updates 4-9 September 2010 (via WayBack machine)

Christchurch City Council, media releases (via WayBack machine)

Earthquake, September 4, 2010, The Star and APN Print, Christchurch, 2010

Environment Canterbury website, www.canterburyearthquake.org.nz (no longer live but available courtesy NDHA Archive)

Graham T. Hancox, ‘Report on the landslide that blocked SH 1 and the railway line near Rosy Morn Stream south of Kaikoura on 10 September 2010’, GNS Science Report 2010/59, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, 2010

Andrew Massie and Neville R. Watson, ‘Impact of the Christchurch earthquakes on the electrical power system infrastructure’, Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, vol. 44, no. 4, December 2011

Orion New Zealand earthquake reports (via WayBack machine)

S.H. Potter, J.S. Becker, D.M. Johnston and K.P. Rossiter, ‘An overview of the impacts of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes’, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015

Radio New Zealand/Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, Canterbury Earthquake Saturday 4th September 2010: the Radio New Zealand response – programming, coverage and feedback, Radio New Zealand, Wellington, 2010

Geoff Rice, All fall down: Christchurch’s lost chimneys, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, 2011

Scoop and Mediacom, media releases (courtesy Radio New Zealand)

Ian Stuart, Quake: the big Canterbury earthquake of 2010, Harper Collins, Auckland, 2010

The Press, The big quake: Canterbury, September 4, 2010, Random House New Zealand, Auckland, 2010

Waimakariri earthquake social recovery services, Waimakariri District Council Occasional Paper no. 24

Ruth Zanker, ‘Heroic radio: a study of radio responses in the immediate aftermath of the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand’, MediaNZ, vol. 14, no. 1, 2014

How to cite this page

'Timeline: 4-16 September 2010', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/canterbury-earthquake-september-2010-timeline, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-May-2016

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