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 September 2015

Released December 2015

CERA Wellbeing Survey September 2015 Report [PDF 3.5 MB, 174 pages]

The seventh CERA Wellbeing Survey shows that most greater Christchurch people feel their wellbeing and quality of life is good and stable.

Levels of stress show little change. Transport-related issues are causing stress for fewer people than before. So are uncertainties about remaining in the region.

People feel positive about things happening around them and things to come, including access to new and repaired recreational and cultural facilities and the improved quality of their homes after repair/rebuild.

There are still challenges. Fewer people feel a sense of community with others in their neighbourhoods. People with unresolved insurance claims have lower levels of wellbeing than others in the region. Overall confidence in recovery decisions has fallen, along with satisfaction about opportunities to influence those decisions. Confidence in CERA’s decisions has dropped in the past year, though confidence in Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Waimakariri District Council is somewhat higher.

As the recovery is at a stage where it's appropriate for central government to progressively move from a role of leadership to supporting local institutions to lead the recovery, work is under way to transfer recovery responsibilities from CERA to other central and local government agencies.

As part of this transfer, the Ministry of Health through the Canterbury District Health Board will inherit responsibility for the Wellbeing Survey on 1 March 2016.

This Survey took place between September and October 2015. It received 2,526 responses from people in Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District.

Key findings

Quality of life and sense of community

  • 77 per cent rate their quality of life as "good" or "extremely good". 22 per cent report an improvement from 12 months ago.
    • 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 (49 per cent compared with 77 per cent of total respondents)
      • living with a health condition or disability (56 per cent)
      • living in temporary housing (57 per cent)
      • from a household with an income of less than $30,000 (59 per cent) or between $30,001 and $60,000 (72 per cent)
      • of Pacific, Asian or Indian ethnicity (66 per cent)
      • renting the dwelling they usually live in (67 per cent)
  • 46 per cent report a strong sense of community, the lowest proportion in any CERA Wellbeing Survey.

Positive outcomes of the earthquakes

  • 27 per cent report that a renewed appreciation of life continues to have a moderate or major positive impact on them.
  • 22 per cent report the same about seeing tangible signs of progress.
  • 22 per cent identify a sense of pride in their ability to cope under difficult circumstances.
  • 22 per cent feel positive about spending more time together as a family.
  • 19 per cent see access to new and repaired recreational and cultural facilities as having a positive impact.

Stress and stressors

  • Levels of stress remained largely steady. 73 per cent experienced stress at least sometimes in the past 12 months. This is the same as in September 2014 and down from 75 per cent in April 2015.
  • The proportion of people feeling frequent stress is also steady. 20 per cent report feeling stressed "always" or "most of the time", compared with 21 per cent in September 2014 and 19 per cent in April 2015.
  • The number of people who identify transport-related issues as a stressor is dropping. 12 per cent report it, down from 15 per cent in September 2014 and April 2015.
  • Uncertainty about remaining in Canterbury is a stressor for fewer people. 11 per cent identified it, down from 13 per cent in September 2014 and April 2015.
  • The only area where there was an increase in those experiencing a stressor was about a loss of meeting spaces for community events. 10 per cent felt this, up from 8 per cent in April 2015 but still the same as September 2014.

Support for those feeling stressed

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.

Impact of unresolved insurance claims

  • The proportion of people experiencing a strong negative impact from dealing with EQC/insurance issues in relation to personal property and houses is unchanged from April 2015.
  • People with unresolved insurance issues still have poorer wellbeing outcomes than the rest of the population. 58 per cent recorded a low emotional wellbeing score using the internationally-recognised WHO-5 self-rated scale of emotional wellbeing, compared with only 47 per cent of the rest of the population. This is a decrease from the 66 per cent who recorded a low score in April 2015.

Support for residential property issues

  • 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 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.

Confidence in decision-making

  • Confidence in recovery decisions has in most cases decreased.
  • 26 per cent report overall confidence in recovery decisions. This is down from 34 per cent in September 2014 and 30 per cent in April 2015.
  • 29 per cent report confidence in CERA’s recovery decisions, down from 37 per cent in September 2014 and 33 per cent in April 2015.
  • 33 per cent report confidence in Christchurch City Council, down from 37 per cent in September 2014 and 35 per cent in April 2015.
  • 45 per cent report confidence in Waimakariri District Council, up from 44 per cent in September 2014 and 36 per cent in April 2015.
  • 44 per cent report confidence in Selwyn District Council, down slightly from 45 per cent in September 2014 but up from
  • 25 per cent are satisfied with the opportunities the public has had to influence earthquake recovery decisions, down from 29 per cent in September 2014 and 30 per cent in April 2015.

Next steps for recovery leadership

The recovery is at a stage where it's appropriate for central government to progressively move from a role of leadership to supporting local institutions to lead the recovery.

Work is under way to transfer recovery responsibilities from CERA to other central and local government agencies, to ensure the long-term recovery and regeneration of greater Christchurch.

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