Two Years On

It has been two years since the major earthquake on 22 February 2011, which resulted in the loss of 185 lives and the destruction of countless Christchurch homes, businesses and communities. Many perspectives on the earthquakes and the ongoing problems and opportunities of the recovery and rebuild process will be offered over the next few days. Within the UC CEISMIC programme we continue to focus on gathering information about the earthquakes in order to build a rich resource for research and future understanding of the earthquakes and what they have meant for Christchurch.  Our particular interest is in digital content that is 'at-risk' because it doesn't sit within a system designed for long-term archival storage and could therefore easily be lost.  It might be photographs stored on a CD or a work laptop.  It might be the earthquake story of a family or organisation that has been partly written down, but not yet shared with others. It might be a video, a blog, or an audio recording that provides insight into some aspect of living in Christchurch since the earthquakes.  If you have content of this sort that you would like to see archived - whether it be for public viewing, or only for the purpose of future research - we'd love to hear from you.  Our aim is to record not only the seismic events of two years ago (as well as 4 September 2010 and numerous other major quakes), but to help understand the ongoing responses and changes as Christchurch regroups and finds its way forward. You can contact us at  We'll be glad to hear from you.

A great example of the way important details about our social history have emerged as a result of the earthquakes can be found in the archaeology work carried out in conjunction with the demolition of many Christchurch buildings.  It is, perhaps, small consolation when we consider the staggering damage to our urban fabric, but it is nonetheless vitally important work.  As it happens, National Geographic has recognised this too, and has just posted a story about the work led by Katharine Watson of Underground Overground Archaeology.  A large number of these reports produced by Watson's team for the NZ Historic Places Trust are available in QuakeStudies, with more to be added in the future.  We're really proud to have helped make these publicly accessible, and applaud the efforts being made by archaeologists and the heritage sector generally to document and learn as much as we can from the earthquakes.

Last but not least, we're also pleased to let you know that today we've updated our background gallery with a set of images from Disappearing Suburbs, a documentary photography project by students in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury.  Focusing on three 'red-zoned' suburbs that have borne the brunt of the earthquakes themselves and then been torn apart by re-zoning, their aim was to explore the impacts on these communities and reveal details that have largely been ignored or hidden from view. It's a fascinating collection, and well worth exploring fully. Note that the images are shown here in their original format, but many have also been captioned with a quotation or comment from local residents.  The captioned versions can be viewed here.