One Year On


Reflections on an extraordinary year and a look at what happens now.

A printable version of this update can be downloaded here 

On this page: 


From the Mayor

What a year we’ve been through. Thank you for being steadfast this year as our District takes the first steps on our recovery journey. I winston at work small3appreciate it has not been easy on many of you. For many people, recovery and rebuild activities have disrupted businesses and daily lives both physically and mentally. For most, I’m sure November 14 2016 will be etched in your lives forever more.

As hard as it has been, this disaster has created opportunities as well as challenges, big and small. The impact of the decrease in visitors and visitor spend is undeniable as is the influx of construction work and workers creating new business and employment areas. The Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project will drive understanding of the damage done to our precious farming land and how to respond to it. The redevelopment of parts of SH1 as part of its rebuild will improve access to our District for visitors and residents alike. The Harbour is almost fully functional again. This means a lot to our locals, our businesses and our visitors. The ocean is a huge part of our District life. Reconnecting with it is not only critical to our community’s recovery but also to the future development of our economy. We’ve worked hard with both local and government partners to get here and we couldn’t be more pleased to have it back.

There’s still a lot of work to do, working through what the damage and changes to our landscape, businesses and homes mean for us all. Council is here to work with you through your recovery journey – just get in touch.  


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From the CEO

For Council, this year has been one of challenge, change and continuing determination to seek the best results we can for all our residents.

Our work continues to require balance between ‘keeping the lights on’ by carrying out the basic services that keep daily life in the District Angela3running and ‘reimagining Kaikoura’ as we work through our recovery. Achieving this balance takes a lot of work from our community and our team and I am privileged to be a part of it.

In the last year our Council and our community has received support from more agencies and organizations than it is possible to thank properly. This includes our local Runanga, Ngai Tahu, Waimakariri and Marlborough Councils, Environment Canterbury, Central Government, the New Zealand Defence Force, community-minded organisations such as the Red Cross, St Johns, Community Energy Action and so many more. To all who have helped us – thank you and we hope to continue to work with you throughout the remainder of our recovery.

To the Mayor, elected members and Council team, thank you for your hard work, commitment and the many long hours worked throughout the past year.

To our residents, thank you for your efforts this year. Recovery is a long process and we’ll need your patience, optimism, feedback and engagement as we work through it together.


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Our EQ story

A year ago the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and series of aftershocks saw Kaikōura completely isolated. State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected. Our harbour was uplifted by up to two metres, making it usable only at high tide. Residents faced uncertainty and loss and a number of tourists and visitors found themselves facing an unexpected extension of their stay in our District.meeting

No emergency response is perfect. Disasters by their very nature overwhelm and the demand for resources, time and attention can be impossible to meet. The days and weeks following the earthquakes were a time of stress, loss, confusion, fraught nerves and great difficulty. They were also a time of community, support, generosity, kindness and openness. Local responders, iwi, volunteers, businesses and agencies combined with outside support to face the unprecedented together.

Support came from across NZ, with staff from national, regional and local territorial authorities, geotechnical experts, GIS (mapping) specialists, NGO’s including the Red Cross and many other organizations deployed to help and to brave aftershocks along with the locals. Greater Christchurch, still in recovery from their own events, went above and beyond to help our District during response and well into recovery.What is civil defence

The newly completed Civic Centre allowed NZ Fire and Police, NZDF, Red Cross and the Emergency Operations Centre to be in the same building, helping response efforts. The newly opened Integrated Health Centre provided a solid base for the health response and Wi-Fi for the visiting guests. The local iwi, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and Ngai Tahu, supported both iwi and the community alike working with the Red Cross and Civil Defence to feed and shelter people at Takahanga Marae.

Our little District discovered hundreds of local heroes as local pilots and contractors put competition aside to help with the response. Landlines and Council contractors restored power, water and telecommunications. Volunteers carried out thousands of tasks big and small.

As response moved into recovery, our District began to realise that there would be no ‘quick fix’ for many of our issues; recovery was here to stay. The community and businesses increasingly felt the economic and psychosocial impacts of the ongoing isolation by road and rail, with visitor numbers well below normal. A Recovery Manager was appointed in December then in early 2017 the ‘Reimagine Kaikoura’ Recovery Plan, outlining what the community wanted from the District recovery was

Throughout the year the Council’s recovery team has been working in partnership with local groups, health and social support organisations and agencies and with other teams within Council to support the community and implement the plan.  As we’ve worked, we’ve sought support and partnership from as many sources as possible to work better for the community and to keep the financial burden of the recovery for ratepayers as small as possible.

Recently Council has begun to move to ‘business as new’ with many of the recovery tasks and work incorporated into the work of core teams. Our Rebuild team is co-ordinating work on our local roads, infrastructure and community facilities, our Building and Regulatory team have picked up work around repairs and building safety, our Strategy and Planning team are looking after work on our natural hazards and land damage, while the Social Recovery and Community Services team remain focused on community support and wellbeing.

Find out about local events marking One Year On

Read more about the Civic Centre

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Supporting our Community

The social recovery team, largely funded by grants, works with the areas of our community that need it most, connecting them to the support services that are available and providing assistance however and whenever it is needed. They are currently focusing on:

  • Supporting residents through their personal rebuild process – insurance, legal advice through support networks, insurance advice
  • The local housing shortage – building an accurate picture of who needs what then working with NCTIR, MBIE, MSD and others to find solutions
  • Community wellbeing – checking in on how everyone is doing through the ‘R you ok? Kaikoura’ door to door survey to make sure everyone has the support they need
  • Organizing events and supporting community led events
  • Creating a community development plan – looking at how Council can work with our community over the next few years to build services, events, support systems and groups that suit our District and those who live here
  • Continuing to develop our Civil Defence planning and help District residents get themselves prepared

Read more about Social Recovery

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Looking after our buildings, roads, infrastructure and facilities

The Council’s Rebuild Programme currently contains 83 separate projects, covering local roads, bridges, stormwater, wastewater and drinking/tap water systems and Council owned buildings and community facilities.  Planning and investigations are now almost complete and our procurement and funding agreements are in place. Now it's time for the bit people can see and touch.

Most things that the community takes for granted (clean safe water, operational sewerage system and safe roads) still require substantial work. The physical works for many of these projects will get underway in the next year so keep an eye out.

We are working with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Central Government, represented by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) to manage and fund the Rebuild Programme and keep costs to ratepayers as low as possible. More information is available via our website.

We do not have the financial resources to replace and restore all existing community facilities. A plan outlining our options will be available for consultation by early 2018.

As well as the rebuild, we’re also working on:

  • Making sure all our building accreditation is up to scratch and improving the way we work through building consents
  • Developing an Infrastructure Strategy to manage all our water and sewer systems more effectively and efficiently in the future
  • Settling our insurance claims from the earthquake and looking at our future insurance needs and options

Read more about the Rebuild

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Working with our environment (and our hazards)

The earthquake triggered natural hazards including rock falls, landslides, and dam bursts. Around 290 red or yellow Civil Defence placards were placed on buildings in our District either due to building damage or risks from natural hazards.

Since then we’ve worked with geotechnical specialists, engineers and central government to understand the impacts of the earthquake on our buildings and land across the District and what our policy options are for helping those affected.

We have examined over 180 properties to check if they needed further geotechnical assessments, 65 properties then received more detailed geotechnical reports. We currently believe that about 50 properties in the district are likely to be permanently uninhabitable due to the earthquake and related natural hazards. Council is currently working with central government to understand what the policy options are for our residents. Decisions from central government are needed before we can make our own plan for what happens next. Both parties are working very hard together and progress is expected early in 2018.

We have a Waste Minimization Case Officer based at Council who is here to help with post-earthquake management of recycling from damaged buildings. This includes free hazardous waste pick-up for things like waste oil/fuel, old paint tins, unwanted chemicals etc. We’re also offering free asbestos testing to help you get your rightful settlement and complete your repairs safely.

We also remain committed to sustainably managing our waste and maintaining our Earthcheck certification.

Read more.

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Growing our economy and businesses

We knew the November 2016 earthquake would affect our local economy and local businesses. We've been working since the earthquake to offer all the support and assistance we can.

We are currently working on:

  • supporting local businesses by connecting them with tools, training and people who can help them plan for and work in the new post-quake economy
  • setting up a local Business Association
  • working with the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Canterbury Community Law, Christchurch NZ, Business Mentors NZ, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and others to provide advice and support to local businesses on issues including insurance, finance and business resilience.

An Economic Development plan is being developed and will be available in 2018. It will be used to help shape our long term plan. 

Read more about our economic recovery 

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What’s up next for Council

As well as churning through all the work above, we’ve got some pretty big stuff planned for next year.

Our next key project is developing a new ‘3 Year Annual Plan’ to help set the direction for our District for the next few years. The plan will cover how money gets spent, what services we provide and what we aim to achieve. It’ll also pick up on the goals of the Recovery Plan and make sure we’re planning to achieve as many of them as possible.

The earthquake put considerable strain on Council finances, just as it did on the finances of many of our ratepayers and local businesses. The work required to rebuild our District is expensive. We need to be as careful as we can to keep costs to the ratepayer as low as possible, but we also need to get things rebuilt as soon as we can. We know our residents want their community facilities back and we will get there, but they also need their water and sewerage systems to be resilient and fit for purpose. We've just got to balance the 'wants' with the 'needs' and keep the books in order along the way. So, while we’re doing our long term planning we’re going to have to take a hard look at our priorities, budget and our rates to make sure we’re making the right decisions. A draft of the plan will be developed for consultation in early-mid 2018.

We also have to change the District Plan. Some of the post-earthquake work around natural hazards and other issues requires updates to the District Plan and associated rules and regulations – we’ll update you when we know more.

Alongside this, we’re still settling in to our new reality post-earthquake which means filling a few vacancies and doing some work on staff training, development and succession planning to make sure we are the best we can be and ratepayers are getting value for money out of us.

We’re also looking at the way people can make a request, provide feedback or make a complaint. We know we’ve got lots of room to improve and we’re looking forward to getting stuck in.  We hope to have things significantly improved by mid-2018.

So, all in all – we’re in for another busy year! Looking forward to working with you along the way.

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Our Team

With all the change, we thought it might be useful to give you an overview of who does what. Click the blue text to find out more about who's on each team and how to contact them.  

  • CEO and Support - the CEO, Executive Officer and Communications and Engagement Officer. Together, they connect a lot of the nuts and bolts of what goes on at Council. 
  • Community Services - connecting and supporting our community through our social recovery team, youth coordination, event coordination, our library, Council front desk team and our Emergency Management Officer. 
  • Asset Management - maintenance and management of Council owned assets including roads, streetlights, footpaths, three waters, parks and recreation, airport and the harbour
  • Building and Regulatory - animal control, liquor licencing, environmental health and all things building including consents, planning and inspections. 
  • Finance and Commercial - managing Council's financial performance and business processes including Economic Recovery, contracts, rates and revenues, claims, accounts payable and receivable 
  • Strategy Policy and District Plan - it's all about having a plan, these guys cover resource consents, the District and Long Term Plans and look after all the rules and regulations governing what people can and cant build and do in our District. 
  • Rebuild Programme - the people coordinating the work to restore Council owned infrastructure and community facilities

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