Restoring social wellbeing is a holistic and collaborative process, which empowers communities who are in transition.

Community support and resilience is especially important for people facing hardship or stress as they resettle in new neighbourhoods.


Ruia taitea, kia tū ko taikākā anake.

"Strip away the sapwood and let the heartwood alone stand."

Be not concerned with what will not last, but concentrate efforts on quality and endurance.

The social wellbeing of communities and individuals depends on a range of factors, including access to quality housing, transport, education and health systems and inclusive communities, which support people to participate fully in the life of the region.

Restoring social wellbeing is a holistic and collaborative process, which empowers communities who are in transition as people leave familiar neighbourhoods and resettle in new areas.

Support for integrated and community-led initiatives can help people cope with stress and uncertainty, as well as minimising potential hardship, inequity and unnecessary disruption to housing, education and health services. Government and non-government health and social service providers are providing assistance and investigating how to reorient services in the earthquake context and how to reach out to people in need. When agencies collaborate over social and public health recovery, they can provide services more efficiently, improve public health outcomes and build the resilience of communities for the future.

Social recovery goals

Strengthen community resilience, safety and wellbeing and enhance quality of life for residents and visitors by:

  1. enabling and empowering local communities to shape and lead their own recovery;
  2. growing capacity, knowledge and skills within the community to build resilience;
  3. delivering community, health, education and social services that are collaborative, accessible, innovative and inclusive;
  4. supporting people, in particular those facing hardship and uncertainty, by providing quality housing, education and health services; and
  5. supporting communities as they go through the processes of resettlement.

What’s happening?

CERA is working with many government and non-government partners on social recovery. Specific work programmes include the following.

  • Community in Mind guides agencies and community groups to develop, target and co-ordinate their work programmes and activities for the psychosocial recovery of greater Christchurch.
  • Community Resilience Programme is strengthening community resilience and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors.
  • Residential Red Zone Management Programme is coordinating and providing support to individuals and households who have been worst affected by the earthquakes, to help them to make decisions about their future.
  • Effective Central Government Services is identifying, encouraging and embedding successful cross-sector innovations adopted locally after the earthquakes and the co-ordination of property decisions as new models for service delivery are identified and agencies look to return to the CBD.
  • Education Renewal Recovery Programme will guide the redevelopment of education over the medium to long-term.
  • The Canterbury Wellbeing Index will measure and track recovery progress and inform the activities and priorities of CERA and other agencies.
  • The Canterbury District Health Board Transition Plan [PDF 2.5MB] is fast-tracking work already underway, to transform, deliver and fund health services, by reorienting the Canterbury Health System to improve health outcomes for the wider population. The plan's key priorities are focused on managing demand by creating services and environments that support people to stay well.

Who’s involved?

Successful recovery is dependent on effective partnerships between existing agencies with extensive expertise in working with communities, and with locally-based initiatives that have sprung up in response to the earthquakes. CERA is working in partnership with many groups, including:

  • government departments, including Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, Office of Ethnic Affairs, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and Department of Internal Affairs
  • local bodies – Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council, Te Runanga O Ngāi Tahu, He Oranga Pounamu and Canterbury District Health Board
  • non-government organisations and the voluntary sector –,many group including Te Runaka Ki Otautahi O Kai Tahu Trust, Mental Health Foundation, Relationship Services Whakawhanaunga, Mental Health Education Resource Centre and Te Puna Oranga
  • interagency networks – Healthy Christchurch, Te Reo Kotahi/One Voice, Council of Social Services Safer Christchurch and Stronger Christchurch
  • local neighbourhood groups – CanCERN and its many affiliated residents’ associations and Avon-Otakaro network.