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.

The CERA Wellbeing Survey September 2014 Report

Released December 2014

The Survey was conducted for the fifth time between August and October 2014, receiving a total of 2,738 responses.

Results from the Survey show many greater Christchurch residents are feeling increasingly positive about their lives, less stressed about repair work and transport issues and more confident about recovery decisions.

While there are many positive and encouraging findings in the Survey, some negative wellbeing issues and a number of areas of stress remain, particularly for people with unresolved insurance claims, people with ill health or disabilities, renters and those in low income households. CERA and partner agencies will continue to address the areas of stress and concern highlighted.

Key findings

Quality of life and sense of community

  • 77 per cent of respondents rate their quality of life as "good" or "very good". 20 per cent report an improvement from 12 months ago. These are the highest results for both questions in the five times the Survey has been conducted since September 2012
  • Comparing these responses to a similar survey conducted elsewhere in New Zealand suggests earthquake effects are still having an impact on greater Christchurch residents’ qualities of life. The 2014 Quality of Life report, which surveyed six New Zealand cities, found a higher number of residents (82 per cent) reported a positive quality of life.
  • 49 per cent of Wellbeing Survey respondents report a strong sense of community, up from 47 per cent in April 2014.
  • The top three positives people report remain "renewed appreciation of life", "pride in ability to cope" and "increases in family resilience".
  • "Tangible signs of progress" have had a positive impact on 20 per cent of respondents, up from 15 per cent in April 2014.
  • 18 per cent of respondents reported that "access to new and repaired recreational, cultural and leisure time facilities" had a positive impact on them, also up from 15 per cent in April 2014.


  • While residents continue to experience stress, survey responses suggest this is falling. 73 per cent report experiencing stress in the past 12 months, down from 80 per cent in April 2014.
  • The proportion of people feeling frequent stress remains steady, with 21 per cent of respondents reporting feeling stressed "always" or "most of the time", compared with 22 per cent in April 2014.
  • Residents are feeling significantly less stressed about the recovery work occurring around them:
    • 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.
    • 15 per cent reported transport-related stress, down from 22 per cent in April 2014.
  • While the loss of recreational, cultural or leisure-time facilities continues to be an issue, the number reporting it as a source of stress also fell, from 20 to 17 per cent. Those reporting loss of indoor sports and active recreation facilities as a source of stress dropped from 17 per cent to 14 per cent.

People with unresolved insurance claims

  • People with insurance claims yet to be settled or assessed are experiencing disproportionate levels of stress and poor emotional wellbeing.
  • The survey includes the WHO-5 questionnaire, an internationally-recognised self-rated scale of emotional wellbeing. 60 per cent of those with unresolved insurance claims recorded a WHO-5 score indicating poor wellbeing, compared with only 43 per cent in the rest of the population.

Confidence in decision-making

  • Confidence in recovery decisions and satisfaction with engagement opportunities has increased:
    • 34 per cent report overall confidence in recovery decisions, up from 28 per cent in April 2014.
    • 37 per cent expressed confidence in CERA, up from 33 per cent.
    • 37 per cent expressed confidence in Christchurch City Council, up from 29 per cent.
    • 47 per cent expressed confidence in Waimakariri District Council, up from 35 per cent.
    • 44 per cent expressed confidence in Selwyn District Council, up from 37 per cent.
    • 29 per cent are satisfied with opportunities for engagement, an increase from 24 per cent.
  • The Survey asked specific questions about the Canvas public engagement process for future use of the Waimakariri District red zone:
    • 42 per cent of Waimakariri residents were aware of Canvas.
    • 79 per cent who were aware of it felt they had the opportunity to get involved.

Some of the ways stressors are being addressed

General stress

In partnership with multiple agencies and organisations as well as community groups, CERA has led development of the Community in Mind psychosocial strategy and is leading its associated Shared Programme of Action.

The Strategy guides agencies and community groups to develop, target and coordinate their work programmes and activities for the psychosocial recovery of greater Christchurch communities.

The Shared Programme of Action will develop actions in the Strategy's three key priority action areas: community-led recovery, innovative service provision and engagement and communication.

Insurance and rebuild stress

The Residential Advisory Service continues to provide free, independent help to residential property owners repairing or rebuilding their homes. The service provides impartial qualified legal advice to assist home owners who may be confused, or feeling overwhelmed or in a disagreement over their repair or rebuild issues.

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

Transport stress

Construction has begun on the new Bus Interchange, a high-quality facility that promises to be the most comfortable, safe and accessible public transport hub that our city has ever seen. Operational from winter 2015, it has been designed as a place for people and will use state-of-the-art technology to make buses as efficient as possible.

  • Will provide easy links with other modes of transport and is easy walking distance to central city destinations.
  • Sustainable and future-proofed design will cater for 70,000 passengers per day by 2041.
  • The central anchor point of Christchurch's public transport network.

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. 74 per cent of SCIRT’s central city work and 57 per cent of its total programme is complete. SCIRT continues to plan its work to minimise disruption for Christchurch people and businesses.

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