Christchurch to host earthquake symposium

A two-day Symposium is to be held later this year on the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes, with a plan for it to lead into a bigger international event marking the quakes 10th anniversary in 2021, Minister Megan Woods and Mayor Lianne Dalziel have announced.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Christchurch City Council will co-host a Symposium on November 29-30 2018 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

"The Symposium will be an event of national importance, sharing lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes so that New Zealand as a whole can be better prepared in future for any similar natural disasters,” says Megan Woods.

"The Canterbury earthquakes were unprecedented. They provide us with many valuable lessons, which we continue to review and learn from to ensure our communities are more resilient and prepared.

"While the Symposium is a great opportunity to collaborate at a national level on the lessons learned, it will also provide the platform into a much bigger international event to be held on the 10th anniversary of the earthquakes in 2021.”

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says, "Up to 250 local and national participants from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors and academia will be invited to the Symposium. It will also be preceded by a series of workshops to be held in the third quarter of this year.

"Both the Symposium and workshops will give expression to the experience of the community, alongside recovery practitioners and academics from around the country, who will each have a chance to share their work. This will help inform how we respond and recover from future disasters in New Zealand.

"From optimum governance arrangements through to the effective and efficient delivery of vast amounts of repair and rebuilding work, it's about what can we learn from our experiences, not just in Greater Christchurch, but also now from Hurunui and Kaikoura, so that the benefits of our experience can flow into future response and recovery efforts.  We also need to embed the importance of engaging the wisdom of the community in all that we do," says Lianne Dalziel.

The Minister says New Zealand's geography exposes it to many natural hazard risks - so being prepared for what's next vital.

“We know that sadly it’s a question of when not if another community will be faced with the same challenges. Kiwis need confidence New Zealand's disaster and recovery systems are robust.

"We must keep learning from what's happened in the past, to ensure we do our best to get it right in the future," says Megan Woods.