Wellbeing Survey

The CERA Wellbeing Survey is an opportunity for residents of greater Christchurch to say how they're going and what they think about the earthquake recovery. It's conducted every six months by CERA and partner agencies with the participation of a random selection of around 2,500 greater Christchurch residents.

The feedback given by residents helps identify what's causing people stress, impacts on their quality of life and social connectedness, barriers they're facing and opportunities they've encountered, what satisfies them about the recovery and any positive impacts they're experiencing as a result of the earthquakes.

Public input from the Survey helps measure earthquake recovery progress and gives social and other agencies an idea of emerging trends in community wellbeing, helping them make decisions about how to target funds and resources to support greater Christchurch residents and communities.

CERA Wellbeing Survey April 2015

Released August 2015

The CERA Wellbeing Survey was conducted for the sixth time between March and May 2015, receiving a total of 2,550 responses.

Results from the Survey show many greater Christchurch residents are feeling increasingly positive about their lives, about tangible signs of progress, about opportunities to experience public events and spaces and about business and employment opportunities. Compared to the same period in 2014, more report feeling a stronger sense of personal commitment to the region and fewer people report feeling negatively impacted by transport pressures and insurance and repair issues.

However, negative wellbeing issues and areas of stress remain, particularly for those with unresolved insurance claims, people with ill-health or disabilities, people living in low income households, renters and people living in temporary housing. Confidence in decision-making by agencies involved in the recovery has dropped since September 2014, particularly in relation to CERA and Selwyn District Council.

CERA and partner agencies will continue to address the areas of stress and concern highlighted.

Key findings

Quality of life and sense of community

  • 79 per cent of respondents rated their quality of life as "good" or "very good". 22 per cent reported an improvement from 12 months ago.
    • These are the highest results for both questions in the six times the Survey has been conducted, continuing a trend seen in September 2014.
    • However, a number of groups are still less likely to rate their quality of life positively, including those:
      • who have unresolved insurance claims at the property they own and usually live in (52 per cent compared with 79 per cent of total respondents)
      • from a household with an income of less than $30,000 (58 per cent) or between $30,001 and $60,000 (71 per cent)
      • living with a health condition or disability (60 per cent)
      • of Pacific, Asian or Indian ethnicity (63 per cent)
      • living in temporary housing (68 per cent)
      • renting the dwelling they usually live in (71 per cent)
      • aged between 50 and 64 years old (72 per cent).
  • 50 per cent of respondents reported a strong sense of community, up slightly from 47 per cent in April 2014 and 49 per cent in September 2014.


  • Levels of stress remained largely steady. 75 per cent reported experiencing stress in the past 12 months, still well below the 80 per cent in April 2014 but up slightly from 73 per cent in September 2014.
  • The proportion of people feeling frequent stress appears to be decreasing slowly. 19 per cent of respondents reported feeling stressed "always" or "most of the time", compared with 22 per cent in April 2014 and 21 per cent in September 2014.
  • Residents are feeling significantly less stressed about the recovery work occurring around them than in April 2014, but figures remained the same as in September 2014:
    • 19 per cent identified being in a damaged environment and/or being surrounded by construction work as a source of stress, down five per cent from April 2014 and the same as September 2014.
    • 15 per cent reported transport-related stress, down from 22 per cent in April 2014 and the same as September 2014.
  • The number reporting the loss of recreational, cultural or leisure-time facilities as a source of stress continued to fall: 15 per cent, from 20 per cent in April 2014 and 17 per cent in September 2014.
  • Those reporting loss of indoor sports and active recreation facilities as a source of stress dropped to 12 per cent, from 17 per cent in April 2014 and 14 per cent in September 2014.

Impact of unresolved insurance claims

  • The number of people experiencing a strong negative impact from dealing with EQC/insurance issues in relation to personal property and houses continues a steady decrease to 13 per cent, compared with 21 per cent in April 2014 and 15 per cent in September 2014.
  • However, those with insurance claims yet to be settled or assessed continue to experience disproportionate levels of stress and poor emotional wellbeing. The Survey includes the WHO-5 questionnaire, an internationally-recognised self-rated scale of emotional wellbeing. 66 per cent of those with unresolved insurance claims recorded a WHO-5 score indicating poor wellbeing, compared with only 46 per cent in the rest of the population. This is up from 60 per cent in September 2014.

Confidence in decision-making

  • Confidence in recovery decisions has in most cases decreased.
    • 30 per cent report overall confidence in recovery decisions, up slightly from 28 per cent in April 2014 but down from a high of 34 per cent in September 2014.
    • 33 per cent expressed confidence in CERA, steady with the 33 per cent of April 2014 but down from 37 per cent in September 2014.
    • 35 per cent expressed confidence in Christchurch City Council, up from 29 per cent in April 2014 but down slightly from 37 per cent in September 2014.
    • 49 per cent expressed confidence in Waimakariri District Council, up from 35 per cent in April 2014 and 47 per cent in September 2014.
    • 36 per cent expressed confidence in Selwyn District Council, about consistent with 37 per cent in April 2014 but down from 44 per cent in September 2014.
  • 30 per cent are satisfied with the opportunities the public has had to influence earthquake recovery decisions, up from 14 per cent in April 2014 and about consistent with the 29 per cent in September 2014.

Some of the ways stressors are being addressed

General stress

People who are stressed, upset or are finding it hard to cope can be helped to find support by calling the Canterbury Support Line. Callers will talk with someone who can help work out the kind of support they need and can connect them with free counselling services or organisations that can offer practical support, information or advice. The number to call is 0800 777 846.

In partnership with multiple agencies, organisations and community groups, CERA has led development of the Community in Mind Psychosocial Strategy and Shared Programme of Action. The Strategy identifies actions in three focus areas: community-led, communication and engagement and innovative services. The Shared Programme of Action expands on these actions, explaining which agencies, organisations and groups are working to carry them out, what they're doing, when they're doing it and how it all connects together.

Insurance and rebuild stress

The Residential Advisory Service continues to provide free, independent help to residential property owners repairing or rebuilding their homes.

In The Know provides answers to Canterbury residents about the residential repair and rebuild process.

The In the Know Hub in Eastgate Shopping Centre provides up-to-date information to help residential property owners progress their home repair or rebuild process.

The Earthquake Support Coordination Service provides free, independent and confidential information and practical help for those whose homes and lives have been directly affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. The service is free, and can be accessed by calling 0800 777 846.

Transport stress

Christchurch’s new Bus Interchange is now open.

An Accessible City focuses on the way people travel into and around the city, and how the streets will look as the central area redevelops. It envisions a transport system that is affordable, resilient, environmentally sustainable and practical.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team(SCIRT) is repairing the publicly-owned, earthquake damaged pipes, roads, and bridges in Christchurch by the end of 2016. SCIRT continues to plan its work to minimise disruption for Christchurch people and businesses.

Loss of recreational, culture, leisure and sport facilities

Spaces, Places and People: A Recovery Programme for Sport and Recreation in Greater Christchurch is a long-term plan to meet the needs of greater Christchurch people wishing to take part in sport and physical activity.

Work carried out in the sector and under the Programme has begun to diminish the effects of earthquake-related losses. Repair, replacement and innovative new use of some infrastructure has helped return overall participation to pre-quake levels. The Programme now continues to guide recovery of the infrastructure and network to keep participation levels high and to cater for the immediate and long-term needs of greater Christchurch’s changing communities, particularly those experiencing considerable post-quake population growth.

The Arts and Culture Recovery Programme for greater Christchurch draws inspiration and ideas of a wide range of cultural agencies and local arts and cultural sector stakeholders and funders to fulfil its vision of a reinvigorated arts and cultural sector evolving and flourishing across greater Christchurch, allowing broad participation in a range of arts and cultural activities and engagement with heritage collections. It sets out strategies for achieving this vision and details what has been achieved and what is planned.

Questions and answers

For whom is the information in CERA Wellbeing Survey intended?
The information in the CERA Wellbeing Survey helps measure earthquake recovery progress and gives CERA and partner agencies an idea of emerging trends in community wellbeing, allowing them to make better decisions about how to target funds and resources to support greater Christchurch residents and communities.

Why does it need to be run again?
The Survey is conducted every six months to measure earthquake recovery progress. As community wellbeing trends and the needs of greater Christchurch people change over time we need to keep abreast of developments to ensure recovery partners have timely and accurate information.

Who was involved in creating the Survey?
CERA developed the Survey in partnership with the Christchurch City Council, the Waimakariri District Council, the Selwyn District Council, Canterbury District Health Board, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Natural Hazards Research Platform.

How is the Survey developed?
The Survey is a representative survey carried out using a sequential mixed-method. A random selection of residents of greater Christchurch is taken from the Electoral Roll and respondents either complete the Survey online or via a hard copy questionnaire posted to them.

In addition to the input of Survey partners the content was developed with input from a number of academic and public sector research experts. The questionnaire was then pre-tested with a sample of greater Christchurch residents. The questionnaires have undergone minor updates each time the Survey has been conducted.

What will be done with the information from the Survey?
Data from the Survey is used to inform a number of operational policy decisions across CERA, including development of the Community in Mind Programme of Action.

Who else will use the Survey information?
The CDHB will use the information in its development and delivery of psychosocial messaging and service delivery responses. The Councils and Ngāi Tahu will use the information plan and prioritise. The Natural Hazards Research Platform will use the information to inform Canterbury earthquake research priorities.

Past CERA Wellbeing Survey reports

The Canterbury Wellbeing Index

The Canterbury Wellbeing Index (the Index) tracks the progress of the social recovery using indicators to provide information on the impacts of the earthquakes on wellbeing and to identify emerging social trends and issues. The Index is a collaborative project across local and central government agencies and is updated and revised twice yearly.

Read the Canterbury Wellbeing Index