CTV Building

Corner of Cashel & Madras St.

The CTV building was a six-storey building in the Christchurch CBD that collapsed catastrophically in the earthquake on 22 February 2011, killing 115 people. It had been assessed by city council inspectors and a structural engineer after the earthquake on 4 September 2010, and was tenanted by several businesses, including Canterbury Television, King's Education, The Clinic, and Relationship Services. The deaths here made up approximately 60% of the overall fatalities in Christchurch on 22 February, and the CTV site became a symbol of the earthquake.

Constructed in the 1980s, it was not an old building, and the total collapse led to several investigations into its design and structural integrity. Family members of those who were killed issued a complaint with IPENZ (now Engineering New Zealand) against the engineers of the building, and the Royal Commission held an official inquiry, followed by two Coronial Inquests. Many of these investigations were drawn out – some lasting over a decade – and outcomes were often dissatisfying for those still grieving.

This page provides some context and general resources on the CTV building and those affected. For further information, explore the pages to the right, which offer more specific articles on the building itself, those who were inside at the time of the earthquake, and the investigations into its collapse.

Resources:

  • Christchurch Press 23 February 2011 | Emergency Edition - The special issue of The Press that was printed the day after the earthquake. The media outlet provided extensive coverage of the disaster, with reports from across the city. The CTV building is pictured on Page 5, and mentioned in several articles.
  • Christchurch Press 22 February 2012 | One Year On: In Memoriam Special Feature - The special issue of The Press printed on the first anniversary of the earthquake. This section contains a fourteen-page tribute to those who died.
    • Page 2 includes an article titled "For those we lost," as well as two maps detailing the deaths by location - either in the CBD or the suburbs. The names of the 115 victims of the CTV building are listed on the far right of the page.
    • Page 3 onwards contains biographies for every person who died in the earthquake, listed in alphabetical order. Each page contains the names of a number of CTV victims and their biographies.
  • Christchurch Press 9 April 2011: Section C, Page 3 | "DEATH ZONE" - This three-page article goes into the details of the CTV building and its collapse. It covers some of the immediate aftermath, naming some of the people who died as well as those who survived, those who are still missing, and those who could not be identified. It also speculates on the cause of the collapse, including statements from experts in structural engineering. Finally, it mentions the potential future for the building site, and touches on the Royal Commission of Inquiry set to take place. Continued on Page 4 and Page 5.
  • Christchurch Press 31 March 2014: Section A, Page 1 | “The call: ‘Daddy I won’t make it’.” - This article tells the story of eight people who survived the initial collapse of the CTV building, but remained stuck beneath the wreckage, unable to be rescued. It discusses who they tried to contact and some of the words exchanged over text messages and phone calls. The article is continued on Page 5 | "Trapped in the rubble." which goes into the rescue attempts for those trapped, most of which were ultimately unsuccessful. It contains some key points from Coroner Gordon Matenga who led the Coronial Inquests and published a report on his findings - these are listed at the top of the page under “Rescue Lessons”. Page 5 also includes infographics of the victims’ locations and a timeline of “Signs of Life from the Rubble”. The bottom of the page has photographs and a short biography of each of the eight victims.
  • Collapse: One building, 115 deaths - A six-part podcast released on the 10th anniversary of the earthquake. The podcast investigates the tragedy of the CTV collapse, from the issues with the design and construction of the building through to the rescue attempts and extensive investigations following the 115 deaths. This page also contains an interactive graphic of the building’s layout and tenancy, an outline of the important people involved, a brief biography of each person who died in the building, a photo gallery of the site before and after the earthquake, and links to other relevant articles.