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Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Liquefaction during the 4th September 2010 Mw 7.1 Darfield earthquake and large aftershocks in 2011 (Canterbury earthquake sequence, CES) caused severe damage to land and infrastructure within Christchurch, New Zealand. Approximately one third of the total CES-induced financial losses were directly attributable to liq- uefaction and thus highlights the need for local and regional authorities to assess liquefaction hazards for present and future developments. This thesis is the first to conduct paleo-liquefaction studies in eastern Christchurch for the purpose of de- termining approximate return times of liquefaction-inducing earthquakes within the region. The research uncovered evidence for pre-CES liquefaction dated by radiocarbon and cross-cutting relationships as post-1660 to pre-1905. Additional paleo-liquefaction investigations within the eastern Christchurch suburb of Avon- dale, and the northern township of Kaiapoi, revealed further evidence for pre-CES liquefaction. Pre-CES liquefaction in Avondale is dated as post-1321 and pre-1901, while the Kaiapoi features likely formed during three distinct episodes: post-1458 and possibly during the 1901 Cheviot earthquake, post-1297 to pre-1901, and pre-1458. Evaluation of the liquefaction potential of active faults within the Can- terbury region indicates that many faults have the potential to cause widespread liquefaction within Avondale and Kaiapoi. The identification of pre-CES liquefac- tion confirms that these areas have previously liquefied, and indicates that residen- tial development in eastern Christchurch between 1860 and 2005 occurred in areas containing geologic evidence for pre-CES liquefaction. Additionally, on the basis of detailed field and GIS-based mapping and geospatial-statistical analysis, the distribution and severity of liquefaction and lateral spreading within the eastern Christchurch suburb of Avonside is shown in this study to be strongly in uenced by geomorphic and topographic variability. This variability is not currently ac- counted for in site-specific liquefaction assessments nor the simplified horizontal displacement models, and accounts for some of the variability between the pre- dicted horizontal displacements and those observed during the CES. This thesis highlights the potential applications of paleo-liquefaction investigations and ge- omorphic mapping to seismic and liquefaction hazard assessments and may aid future land-use planning decisions.

Research papers, The University of Auckland Library

Following the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes the seismic design of buildings with precast concrete panels has received significant attention. Although this form of construction generally performed adequately in Christchurch, there were a considerable number of precast concrete panel connection failures. This observation prompted a review of more than 4700 panel details from 108 buildings to establish representative details used in both existing and new multi-storey and low rise industrial precast concrete buildings in three major New Zealand cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Details were collected from precast manufacturers and city councils and were categorised according to type. The detailing and quantity of each reviewed connection type in the sampled data is reported, and advantages and potential deficiencies of each connection type are discussed. The results of this survey provide a better understanding of the relative prevalence of common detailing used in precast concrete panels and guidance for the design of future experimental studies. http://www.nzsee.org.nz/publications/nzsee-quarterly-bulletin/

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

This report provides an initial overview and gap analysis of the multi-hazards interactions that might affect fluvial and pluvial flooding (FPF) hazard in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment. As per the terms of reference, this report focuses on a one-way analysis of the potential effects of multi-hazards on FPF hazard, as opposed to a more complex multi-way analysis of interactions between all hazards. We examined the relationship between FPF hazard and hazards associated with the phenomena of tsunamis; coastal erosion; coastal inundation; groundwater; earthquakes; and mass movements. Tsunamis: Modelling research indicates the worst-case tsunami scenarios potentially affecting the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment are far field. Under low probability, high impact tsunami scenarios waves could travel into Pegasus Bay and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai, reaching the mouth and lower reaches of the Heathcote catchment and river, potentially inundating and eroding shorelines in sub-catchments 1 to 5, and temporarily blocking fluvial drainage more extensively. Any flooding infrastructure or management actions implemented in the area of tsunami inundation would ideally be resilient to tsunami-induced inundation and erosion. Model results currently available are a first estimate of potential tsunami inundation under contemporary sea and land level conditions. In terms of future large tsunami events, these models likely underestimate effects in riverside sub-catchments, as well as effects under future sea level, shoreline and other conditions. Also of significance when considering different FPF management structures, it is important to be mindful that certain types of flood structures can ‘trap’ inundating water coming from ocean directions, leading to longer flood durations and salinization issues. Coastal erosion: Model predictions indicate that sub-catchments 1 to 3 could potentially be affected by coastal erosion by the timescale of 2065, with sub-catchments 1-6 predicted to be potentially affected by coastal erosion by the time scale of 2115. In addition, the predicted open coast effects of this hazard should not be ignored since any significant changes in the New Brighton Spit open coast would affect erosion rates and exposure of the landward estuary margins, including the shorelines of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment. Any FPF flooding infrastructure or management activities planned for the potentially affected sub-catchments needs to recognise the possibility of coastal erosion, and to have a planned response to the predicted potential shoreline translation. Coastal inundation: Model predictions indicate coastal inundation hazards could potentially affect sub-catchments 1 to 8 by 2065, with a greater area and depth of inundation possible for these same sub-catchments by 2115. Low-lying areas of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment and river channel that discharge into the estuary are highly vulnerable to coastal inundation since elevated ocean and estuary water levels can block the drainage of inland systems, compounding FPF hazards. Coastal inundation can overwhelm stormwater and other drainage network components, and render river dredging options ineffective at best, flood enhancing at worst. A distinction can be made between coastal inundation and coastal erosion in terms of the potential impacts on affected land and assets, including flood infrastructure, and the implications for acceptance, adaptation, mitigation, and/or modification options. That is, responding to inundation could include structural and/or building elevation solutions, since unlike erosion, inundation does not necessarily mean the loss of land. Groundwater: Groundwater levels are of significant but variable concern when examining flooding hazards and management options in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment due to variability in soils, topographies, elevations and proximities to riverine and estuarine surface waterbodies. Much of the Canterbury Plains part of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment has a water table that is at a median depth of <1m from the surface (with actual depth below surface varying seasonally, inter-annually and during extreme meteorological events), though the water table depth rapidly shifts to >6m below the surface in the upper Plains part of the catchment (sub-catchments 13 to 15). Parts of Waltham/Linwood (sub-catchments 5 & 6) and Spreydon (sub-catchment 10) have extensive areas with a particularly high water table, as do sub-catchments 18, 19 and 20 south of the river. In all of the sub-catchments where groundwater depth below surface is shallow, it is necessary to be mindful of cascading effects on liquefaction hazard during earthquake events, including earthquake-induced drainage network and stormwater infrastructure damage. In turn, subsidence induced by liquefaction and other earthquake processes during the CES directly affected groundwater depth below surface across large parts of the central Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment. The estuary margin of the catchment also faces increasing future challenges with sea level rise, which has the potential to elevate groundwater levels in these areas, compounding existing liquefaction and other earthquake associated multi-hazards. Any increases in subsurface runoff due to drainage system, development or climate changes are also of concern for the loess covered hill slopes due to the potential to enhance mass movement hazards. Earthquakes: Earthquake associated vertical ground displacement and liquefaction have historically affected, or are in future predicted to affect, all Ōpāwaho Heathcote sub-catchments. During the CES, these phenomena induced a significant cascades of changes in the city’s drainage systems, including: extensive vertical displacement and liquefaction induced damage to stormwater ‘greyware’, reducing functionality of the stormwater system; damage to the wastewater system which temporarily lowered groundwater levels and increased stormwater drainage via the wastewater network on the one hand, creating a pollution multi-hazard for FPF on the other hand; liquefaction and vertical displacement induced river channel changes affected drainage capacities; subsidence induced losses in soakage and infiltration capacities; changes occurred in topographic drainage conductivity; estuary subsidence (mainly around the Ōtākaro Avon rivermouth) increased both FPF and coastal inundation hazards; estuary bed uplift (severe around the Ōpāwaho Heathcote margins), reduced tidal prisms and increased bed friction, producing an overall reduction the waterbody’s capacity to efficiently flush catchment floodwaters to sea; and changes in estuarine and riverine ecosystems. All such possible effects need to be considered when evaluating present and future capacities of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment FPF management systems. These phenomena are particularly of concern in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment since stormwater networks must deal with constraints imposed by stream and river channels (past and present), estuarine shorelines and complex hill topography. Mass movements: Mass movements are primarily a risk in the Port Hills areas of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment (sub-catchments 1, 2, 7, 9, 11, 16, 21), though there are one or two small but susceptible areas on the banks of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River. Mass movements in the form of rockfalls and debris flows occurred on the Port Hills during the CES, resulting in building damage, fatalities and evacuations. Evidence has also been found of earthquake-triggered tunnel gully collapsesin all Port Hill Valleys. Follow-on effects of these mass movements are likely to occur in major future FPF and other hazard events. Of note, elevated groundwater levels, coastal inundation, earthquakes (including liquefaction and other effects), and mass movement exhibit the most extensive levels of multi-hazard interaction with FPF hazard. Further, all of the analysed multi-hazard interactions except earthquakes were found to consistently produce increases in the FPF hazard. The implications of these analyses are that multihazard interactions generally enhance the FPF hazard in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment. Hence, management plans which exclude adjustments for multi-hazard interactions are likely to underestimate the FPF hazard in numerous different ways. In conclusion, although only a one-way analysis of the potential effects of selected multi-hazards on FPF hazard, this review highlights that the Ōpāwaho Heathcote catchment is an inherently multi- hazard prone environment. The implications of the interactions and process linkages revealed in this report are that several significant multi-hazard influences and process interactions must be taken into account in order to design a resilient FPF hazard management strategy.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

In this dissertation it is argued that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority were both necessary and inevitable given the trends and traditions of civil defence emergency management (CDEM) in New Zealand. The trends and traditions of civil defence are such that principles come before practice, form before function, and change is primarily brought about through crisis and criticism. The guiding question of the research was why were a new governance system and law made after the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011? Why did this outcome occur despite the establishment of a modern emergency management system in 2002 which included a recovery framework that had been praised by international scholars as leading edge and a model for other countries? The official reason was the unprecedented scale and demands of the recovery – but a disaster of such scale is the principle reason for having a national emergency management system. Another explanation is the lack of cooperation among local authorities – but that raises the question of whether the CDEM recovery framework would have been successful in another locality. Consequentially, the focus of this dissertation is on the CDEM recovery framework and how New Zealand came to find itself making disaster law during a disaster. Recommendations include a review of emergency powers for recovery, a review of the capabilities needed to fulfil the mandate of Recovery Managers, and the establishment of a National Recovery Office with a cadre of Recovery Managers that attend every recovery to observe, advise, or assume control as needed. CDEM Group Recovery Managers would be seconded to the National Recovery Office which would allow for experience in recovery management to be developed and institutionalised through regular practice.

Research papers, The University of Auckland Library

The author followed five primary (elementary) schools over three years as they responded to and began to recover from the 2010–2011 earthquakes in and around the city of Christchurch in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The purpose was to capture the stories for the schools themselves, their communities, and for New Zealand’s historical records. From the wider study, data from the qualitative interviews highlighted themes such as children’s responses or the changing roles of principals and teachers. The theme discussed in this article, however, is the role that schools played in the provision of facilities and services to meet (a) physical needs (food, water, shelter, and safety); and (b) emotional, social, and psychological needs (communication, emotional support, psychological counseling, and social cohesion)—both for themselves and their wider communities. The role schools played is examined across the immediate, short-, medium-, and long-term response periods before being discussed through a social bonding theoretical lens. The article concludes by recommending stronger engagement with schools when considering disaster policy, planning, and preparation http://www.schoolcommunitynetwork.org/SCJ.aspx

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Liquefaction-induced lateral spreading during earthquakes poses a significant hazard to the built environment, as observed in Christchurch during the 2010 to 2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES). It is critical that geotechnical earthquake engineers are able to adequately predict both the spatial extent of lateral spreads and magnitudes of associated ground movements for design purposes. Published empirical and semi-empirical models for predicting lateral spread displacements have been shown to vary by a factor of <0.5 to >2 from those measured in parts of Christchurch during CES. Comprehensive post- CES lateral spreading studies have clearly indicated that the spatial distribution of the horizontal displacements and extent of lateral spreading along the Avon River in eastern Christchurch were strongly influenced by geologic, stratigraphic and topographic features.

Research papers, The University of Auckland Library

In September 2010 and February 2011 the Canterbury region of New Zealand was struck by two powerful earthquakes, registering magnitude 7.1 and 6.3 respectively on the Richter scale. The second earthquake was centred 10 kilometres south-east of the centre of Christchurch (the region’s capital and New Zealand’s third most populous urban area, with approximately 360,000 residents) at a depth of five kilometres. 185 people were killed, making it the second deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand’s history. (66 people were killed in the collapse of one building alone, the six-storey Canterbury Television building.) The earthquake occurred during the lunch hour, increasing the number of people killed on footpaths and in buses and cars by falling debris. In addition to the loss of life, the earthquake caused catastrophic damage to both land and buildings in Christchurch, particularly in the central business district. Many commercial and residential buildings collapsed in the tremors; others were damaged through soil liquefaction and surface flooding. Over 1,000 buildings in the central business district were eventually demolished because of safety concerns, and an estimated 70,000 people had to leave the city after the earthquakes because their homes were uninhabitable. The New Zealand Government declared a state of national emergency, which stayed in force for ten weeks. In 2014 the Government estimated that the rebuild process would cost NZ$40 billion (approximately US$27.3 billion, a cost equivalent to 17% of New Zealand’s annual GDP). Economists now estimate it could take the New Zealand economy between 50 and 100 years to recover. The earthquakes generated tens of thousands of insurance claims, both against private home insurance companies and against the New Zealand Earthquake Commission, a government-owned statutory body which provides primary natural disaster insurance to residential property owners in New Zealand. These ranged from claims for hundreds of millions of dollars concerning the local port and university to much smaller claims in respect of the thousands of residential homes damaged. Many of these insurance claims resulted in civil proceedings, caused by disputes about policy cover, the extent of the damage and the cost and/or methodology of repairs, as well as failures in communication and delays caused by the overwhelming number of claims. Disputes were complicated by the fact that the Earthquake Commission provides primary insurance cover up to a monetary cap, with any additional costs to be met by the property owner’s private insurer. Litigation funders and non-lawyer claims advocates who took a percentage of any insurance proceeds also soon became involved. These two factors increased the number of parties involved in any given claim and introduced further obstacles to resolution. Resolving these disputes both efficiently and fairly was (and remains) central to the rebuild process. This created an unprecedented challenge for the justice system in Christchurch (and New Zealand), exacerbated by the fact that the Christchurch High Court building was itself damaged in the earthquakes, with the Court having to relocate to temporary premises. (The High Court hears civil claims exceeding NZ$200,000 in value (approximately US$140,000) or those involving particularly complex issues. Most of the claims fell into this category.) This paper will examine the response of the Christchurch High Court to this extraordinary situation as a case study in innovative judging practices and from a jurisprudential perspective. In 2011, following the earthquakes, the High Court made a commitment that earthquake-related civil claims would be dealt with as swiftly as the Court's resources permitted. In May 2012, it commenced a special “Earthquake List” to manage these cases. The list (which is ongoing) seeks to streamline the trial process, resolve quickly claims with precedent value or involving acute personal hardship or large numbers of people, facilitate settlement and generally work proactively and innovatively with local lawyers, technical experts and other stakeholders. For example, the Court maintains a public list (in spreadsheet format, available online) with details of all active cases before the Court, listing the parties and their lawyers, summarising the facts and identifying the legal issues raised. It identifies cases in which issues of general importance have been or will be decided, with the expressed purpose being to assist earthquake litigants and those contemplating litigation and to facilitate communication among parties and lawyers. This paper will posit the Earthquake List as an attempt to implement innovative judging techniques to provide efficient yet just legal processes, and which can be examined from a variety of jurisprudential perspectives. One of these is as a case study in the well-established debate about the dialogic relationship between public decisions and private settlement in the rule of law. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Hazel Genn, Owen Fiss, David Luban, Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Judith Resnik, it will explore the tension between the need to develop the law through the doctrine of precedent and the need to resolve civil disputes fairly, affordably and expeditiously. It will also be informed by the presenter’s personal experience of the interplay between reported decisions and private settlement in post-earthquake Christchurch through her work mediating insurance disputes. From a methodological perspective, this research project itself gives rise to issues suitable for discussion at the Law and Society Annual Meeting. These include the challenges in empirical study of judges, working with data collected by the courts and statistical analysis of the legal process in reference to settlement. September 2015 marked the five-year anniversary of the first Christchurch earthquake. There remains widespread dissatisfaction amongst Christchurch residents with the ongoing delays in resolving claims, particularly insurers, and the rebuild process. There will continue to be challenges in Christchurch for years to come, both from as-yet unresolved claims but also because of the possibility of a new wave of claims arising from poor quality repairs. Thus, a final purpose of presenting this paper at the 2016 Meeting is to gain the benefit of other scholarly perspectives and experiences of innovative judging best practice, with a view to strengthening and improving the judicial processes in Christchurch. This Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in New Orleans is a particularly appropriate forum for this paper, given the recent ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the plenary session theme of “Natural and Unnatural Disasters – human crises and law’s response.” The presenter has a personal connection with this theme, as she was a Fulbright scholar from New Zealand at New York University in 2005/2006 and participated in the student volunteer cleanup effort in New Orleans following Katrina. http://www.lawandsociety.org/NewOrleans2016/docs/2016_Program.pdf

Research papers, Victoria University of Wellington

The last seven years have seen southern New Zealand a ected by several large and damaging earthquakes: the moment magnitude (MW) 7.8 Dusky Sound earthquake on 15 July 2009, the MW 7.1 Dar eld (Canterbury) earthquake on 4 September 2010, and most notably the MW 6.2 Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 and the protracted aftershock sequence. In this thesis, we address the postseismic displacement produced by these earthquakes using methods of satellite-based geodetic measurement, known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS), and computational modelling.  We observe several ground displacement features in the Canterbury and Fiordland regions during three periods: 1) Following the Dusky Sound earthquake; 2) Following the Dar eld earthquake and prior to the Christchurch earthquake; and 3) Following the Christchurch earthquake until February 2015.  The ground displacement associated with postseismic motion following the Dusky Sound earthquake has been measured by continuous and campaign GPS data acquired in August 2009, in conjunction with Di erential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) observations. We use an afterslip model, estimated by temporal inversion of geodetic data, with combined viscoelastic rebound model to account for the observed spatio-temporal patterns of displacement. The two postseismic processes together induce a signi cant displacement corresponding to principal extensional and contractual strain rates of the order of 10⁻⁷ and 10⁻⁸ yr⁻¹ respectively, across most of the southern South Island.  We also analyse observed postseismic displacement following the Dusky Sound earthquake using a new inversion approach in order to describe afterslip in an elasticviscoelastic medium. We develop a mathematical framework, namely the "Iterative Decoupling of Afterslip and Viscoelastic rebound (IDAV)" method, with which to invert temporally dense and spatially sparse geodetic observations. We examine the IDAV method using both numerical and analytical simulations of Green's functions.  For the post-Dar eld time interval, postseismic signals are measured within approximately one month of the mainshock. The dataset used for the post-Dar eld displacement spans the region surrounding previously unrecognised faults that ruptured during the mainshock. Poroelastic rebound in a multi-layered half-space and dilatancy recovery at shallow depths provide a satisfactory t with the observations.  For the post-Christchurch interval, campaign GPS data acquired in February 2012 to February 2015 in four successive epochs and 66 TerraSAR-X (TSX) SAR acquisitions in descending orbits between March 2011 and May 2014 reveal approximately three years of postseismic displacement. We detect movement away from the satellite of ~ 3 mm/yr in Christchurch and a gradient of displacement of ~ 4 mm/yr across a lineament extending from the westernmost end of the Western Christchurch Fault towards the eastern end of the Greendale East Fault. The postseismic signals following the Christchurch earthquake are mainly accounted for by afterslip models on the subsurface lineament and nearby faults.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

This poster presents work to date on ground motion simulation validation and inversion for the Canterbury, New Zealand region. Recent developments have focused on the collection of different earthquake sources and the verification of the SPECFEM3D software package in forward and inverse simulations. SPECFEM3D is an open source software package which simulates seismic wave propagation and performs adjoint tomography based upon the spectral-element method. Figure 2: Fence diagrams of shear wave velocities highlighting the salient features of the (a) 1D Canterbury velocity model, and (b) 3D Canterbury velocity model. Figure 5: Seismic sources and strong motion stations in the South Island of New Zealand, and corresponding ray paths of observed ground motions. Figure 3: Domain used for the 19th October 2010 Mw 4.8 case study event including the location of the seismic source and strong motion stations. By understanding the predictive and inversion capabilities of SPECFEM3D, the current 3D Canterbury Velocity Model can be iteratively improved to better predict the observed ground motions. This is achieved by minimizing the misfit between observed and simulated ground motions using the built-in optimization algorithm. Figure 1 shows the Canterbury Velocity Model domain considered including the locations of small-to-moderate Mw events [3-4.5], strong motion stations, and ray paths of observed ground motions. The area covered by the ray paths essentially indicates the area of the model which will be most affected by the waveform inversion. The seismic sources used in the ground motion simulations are centroid moment tensor solutions obtained from GeoNet. All earthquake ruptures are modelled as point sources with a Gaussian source time function. The minimum Mw limit is enforced to ensure good signal-to-noise ratio and well constrained source parameters. The maximum Mw limit is enforced to ensure the point source approximation is valid and to minimize off-fault nonlinear effects.

Videos, UC QuakeStudies

A video of a presentation by Bridget Tehan and Sharon Tortonson during the Community and Social Recovery Stream of the 2016 People in Disasters Conference. The presentation is titled, "Community and Social Service Organisations in Emergencies and Disasters in Australia and New Zealand".The abstract for this presentation reads as follows: What happens when support services for issues such as mental health, foster care or homelessness are impacted by a disaster? What happens to their staff? What happens to their clients? The community sector is a unique, valuable and diverse component of Australasian economy and society. Through its significant numbers of employees and volunteers, its diversity, the range of service and advocacy programs it delivers, and the wide range of people it supports, it delivers value to communities and strengthens society. The community and social services sector builds resilience daily through services to aged care, child welfare and disability, domestic violence, housing and homelessness, and mental health care. The sector's role is particularly vital in assisting disadvantaged people and communities. For many, community sector organisations are their primary connection to the broader community and form the basis of their resilience to everyday adversity, as well as in times of crisis. However, community sector organisations are particularly vulnerable in a major emergency or disaster. Australian research shows that the most community sector organisations are highly vulnerable and unprepared for emergencies. This lack of preparedness can have impacts on service delivery, business continuity, and the wellbeing of clients. The consequences of major disruptions to the provision of social services to vulnerable people are serious and could be life-threatening in a disaster. This presentation will review the Victorian Council of Social Service (Australia) and Social Equity and Wellbeing Network (formerly the Christchurch Council of Social Services) records on the impacts of emergencies on community sector organisations, staff, and clients. From the discussion of records, recommendations will be presented that could improve the resilience of this crucial sector.

Research papers, Lincoln University

Creative temporary or transitional use of vacant urban open spaces is seldom foreseen in traditional urban planning and has historically been linked to economic or political disturbances. Christchurch, like most cities, has had a relatively small stock of vacant spaces throughout much of its history. This changed dramatically after an earthquake and several damaging aftershocks hit the city in 2010 and 2011; temporary uses emerged on post-earthquake sites that ran parallel to the “official” rebuild discourse and programmes of action. The paper examines a post-earthquake transitional community-initiated open space (CIOS) in central Christchurch. CIOS have been established by local community groups as bottom-up initiatives relying on financial sponsorship, agreements with local landowners who leave their land for temporary projects until they are ready to redevelop, and volunteers who build and maintain the spaces. The paper discusses bottom-up governance approaches in depth in a single temporary post-earthquake community garden project using the concepts of community resilience and social capital. The study analyses and highlights the evolution and actions of the facilitating community organisation (Greening the Rubble) and the impact of this on the project. It discusses key actors’ motivations and values, perceived benefits and challenges, and their current involvement with the garden. The paper concludes with observations and recommendations about the initiation of such projects and the challenges for those wishing to study ephemeral social recovery phenomena.