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Articles, Christchurch uncovered

‘If you dig a hole through the centre of the Earth, you would arrive in New Zealand’. As Spanish children, we learnt that at school. Spain is the Antipodes of New Zealand. Both countries are at the same time joined … Continue reading →

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Nowadays the telecommunication systems’ performance has a substantial impact on our lifestyle. Their operationality becomes even more substantial in a post-disaster scenario when these services are used in civil protection and emergency plans, as well as for the restoration of all the other critical infrastructure. Despite the relevance of loss of functionality of telecommunication networks on seismic resilience, studies on their performance assessment are few in the literature. The telecommunication system is a distributed network made up of several components (i.e. ducts, utility holes, cabinets, major and local exchanges). Given that these networks cover a large geographical area, they can be easily subjected to the effects of a seismic event, either the ground shaking itself, or co-seismic events such as liquefaction and landslides. In this paper, an analysis of the data collected after the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) and the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake in New Zealand is conducted. Analysing these data, information gaps are critically identified regarding physical and functional failures of the telecommunication components, the timeline of repair/reconstruction activities and service recovery, geotechnical tests and land planning maps. Indeed, if these missing data were presented, they could aid the assessment of the seismic resilience. Thus, practical improvements in the post-disaster collection from both a network and organisational viewpoints are proposed through consultation of national and international researchers and highly experienced asset managers from Chorus. Finally, an outline of future studies which could guide towards a more resilient seismic performance of the telecommunication network is presented.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Observations made in past earthquakes, in New Zealand and around the world, have highlighted the vulnerability of non-structural elements such as facades, ceilings, partitions and services. Damage to these elements can be life-threatening or jeopardise egress routes but typically, the main concern is the cost and time associated with repair works. The Insurance Council of New Zealand highlighted the substantial economic losses in recent earthquakes due to poor performance of non-structural elements. Previous inspections and research have attributed the damage to non-structural elements principally to poor coordination, inadequate or lack of seismic restraints and insufficient clearances to cater for seismic actions. Secondary issues of design responsibility, procurement and the need for better alignment of the various Standards have been identified. In addition to the compliance issues, researchers have also demonstrated that current code provisions for non-structural elements, both in New Zealand and abroad, may be inadequate. This paper first reviews the damage observed against the requirements of relevant Standards and the New Zealand Building Code, and it appears that, had the installations been compliant, the cost of repair and business interruption would have been substantially less. The second part of the paper highlights some of the apparent shortcomings with the current design process for non-structural elements, points towards possible alternative strategies and identifies areas where more research is deemed necessary. The challenge of improving the seismic performance of non-structural elements is a complex one across a diverse construction industry. Indications are that the New Zealand construction industry needs to completely rethink the delivery approach to ensure an integrated design, construction and certification process. The industry, QuakeCentre, QuakeCoRE and the University of Canterbury are presently working together to progress solutions. Indications are that if new processes can be initiated, better performance during earthquakes will be achieved while delivering enhanced building and business resilience.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

This thesis explores the discussions and perspectives of Christchurch secondary school students in regards to their particular experiences and engagement with Anzac. In this thesis I seek to rigorously and robustly examine these viewpoints through semi-structured focus group interviews and thematic analysis. I seek to situate these youth perspectives within wider debates around Anzac mythology and Anzac resurgence in New Zealand which often do not represent the youth outlook. These debates are seen, on the one hand, to present a resurgence of youth engagement with Anzac and, on the other hand, to present the idea that Anzac has become an exclusionary myth which distorts Australians’ and New Zealanders’ understanding of wider Anzac experiences and educates them in a narrow, militarised way. Youth engagement with Anzac was not something which could be solely situated under either of these debates and, instead, it was seen to be multifaceted and made up of unique ideas and elements. The youth in my study acknowledged that their Anzac education did have mythic elements which made it hard for them to engage with Anzac despite the fact that they were actually interested in learning and understanding it. These mythic elements were the idea that Anzac is taught as a ‘simple narrative’ which does not allow room for critique, that it emphasises a link between Anzac and national identity, that it disregards many alternative Anzac experiences and that it presents a particular New Zealand identity to internalise. These students responded to their mythic Anzac education in a very active way, and instead of accepting it as truth, they were able to have constructive and critical conversations about their education and push against parts of it which they found to be too narrow or skewed in particular directions based on gender, ethnicity and national identity. The students were not passive vessels which internalised their Anzac education as fact; instead, they were able to acknowledge the mythic elements of their education and its negative influence in the classroom. This thesis went further in exploring what factors were seen to enhance this active process of critique and provide students with alternative knowledge and perspectives about Anzac. These factors were ancestral ties to Anzac, research into personal Anzac stories and experiences, unassessed educational units, centenary discussions, an understanding of hardship through the earthquakes and alternative perspectives of the Anzac experience through access to the internet. These factors presented a broader understanding of Anzac perspectives and experiences and students believed that if the mythic elements of their education could be revised and these elements encouraged then their engagement with Anzac would continue long into the future.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Home address-based school zoning regulations are widely used in many countries as one means of selecting pupils and estimating future enrolment. However, there is little research regarding an alternative system of zoning for parents’ place of employment. Previous research has failed to analyse potential impacts from workplace-based zoning, including negating the effects of chain migration theory and settlement patterns to facilitate cultural integration, promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of families by enabling their close proximity during the day, as well as positive results concerning a volatile real estate market. As the modern family more often consists of one or both parents working full-time, the requirement of children to attend school near their home may not be as reasonably convenient as near their parents’ workplace. A case study was performed on one primary school in Christchurch, consisting of surveys and interviews of school stakeholders, including parents and staff, along with GIS mapping of school locations. This found deeper motivations for choosing a primary school, including a preference for cultural integration and the desire to school children under 14 years near their parents’ place of employment in case of illness or earthquake. These data suggest that the advantages of workplace-based zoning may be worth considering, and this thesis creates a framework for the Ministry of Education to implement this initiative in a pilot programme for primary schools in Christchurch.

Research papers, Lincoln University

On 14 November 2016, a magnitude (Mw) 7.8 earthquake struck the small coastal settlement of Kaikōura, Aotearoa-New Zealand. With an economy based on tourism, agriculture, and fishing, Kaikōura was immediately faced with significant logistical, economic, and social challenges caused by damage to critical infrastructure and lifelines, essential to its main industries. Massive landslips cut offroad and rail access, stranding hundreds of tourists, and halting the collection, processing and distribution of agricultural products. At the coast, the seabed rose two metres, limiting harbour-access to high tide, with implications for whale watching tours and commercial fisheries. Throughout the region there was significant damage to homes, businesses, and farmland, leaving owners and residents facing an uncertain future. This paper uses qualitative case study analysis to explore post-quake transformations in a rural context. The aim is to gain insight into the distinctive dynamics of disaster response mechanisms, focusing on two initiatives that have emerged in direct response to the disaster. The first examines the ways in which agriculture, food harvesting, production and distribution are being reimagined with the potential to enhance regional food security. The second examines the rescaling of power in decision-making processes following the disaster, specifically examining the ways in which rural actors are leveraging networks to meet their needs and the consequences of that repositioning on rural (and national) governance arrangements. In these and other ways, the local economy is being revitalised, and regional resilience enhanced through diversification, capitalising not on the disaster but the region's natural, social, and cultural capital. Drawing on insights and experience of local stakeholders, policy- and decision-makers, and community representatives we highlight the diverse ways in which these endeavours are an attempt to create something new, revealing also the barriers which needed to be overcome to reshape local livelihoods. Results reveal that the process of transformation as part of rural recovery must be grounded in the lived reality of local residents and their understanding of place, incorporating and building on regional social, environmental, and economic characteristics. In this, the need to respond rapidly to realise opportunities must be balanced with the community-centric approach, with greater recognition given to the contested nature of the decisions to be made. Insights from the case examples can inform preparedness and recovery planning elsewhere, and provide a rich, real-time example of the ways in which disasters can create opportunities for reimagining resilient futures.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Following the recent earthquakes in Chile (2010) and New Zealand (2010/2011), peculiar failure modes were observed in Reinforced Concrete (RC) walls. These observations have raised a global concern on the contribution of bi-directional loading to these failure mechanisms. One of the failure modes that could potentially result from bidirectional excitations is out-of-plane shear failure. In this paper an overview of the recent experimental and numerical findings regarding out-of-plane shear failure in RC walls are presented. The numerical study presents the Finite Element (FE) simulation of wall D5-6 from the Grand Chancellor Hotel that failed in shear in the out-of-plane direction in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The main objective of the numerical study was to investigate the reasons for this failure mode. The experimental campaign includes the recent experiments conducted in the Structural Engineering Laboratory of the University of Canterbury. The experimental study included three rectangular slender RC walls designed based on NZS3101: 2006-A3 (2017) for three different ductility levels, namely: nominally ductile, limited ductile and ductile. The numerical results showed that high axial load combined with bi-directional loading caused the out-of-plane shear failure in wall D5-6 from the Grand Chancellor Hotel. This was also confirmed and further investigated in the experimental phase of the study.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Land cover change information in urban areas supports decision makers in dealing with public policy planning and resource management. Remote sensing has been demonstrated as an efficient and accurate way to monitor land cover change over large extents. The Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) caused massive damage in Christchurch, New Zealand and resulted in significant land cover change over a short time period. This study combined two types of remote sensing data, aerial imagery (RGB) and LiDAR, as the basis for quantifying land cover change in Christchurch between 2011 – 2015, a period corresponding to the five years immediately following the 22 February 2011 earthquake, which was part of the CES. An object based image analysis (OBIA) approach was adopted to classify the aerial imagery and LiDAR data into seven land cover types (bare land, building, grass, shadow, tree and water). The OBIA approach consisted of two steps, image segmentation and object classification. For the first step, this study used multi-level segmentation to better segment objects. For the second step, the random forest (RF) classifier was used to assign a land cover type to each object defined by the segmentation. Overall classification accuracies for 2011 and 2015 were 94.0% and 94.32%, respectively. Based on the classification result, land cover changes between 2011 and 2015 were then analysed. Significant increases were found in road and tree cover, while the land cover types that decreased were bare land, grass, roof, water. To better understand the reasons for those changes, land cover transitions were calculated. Canopy growth, seasonal differences and forest plantation establishment were the main reasons for tree cover increase. Redevelopment after the earthquake was the main reason for road area growth. By comparing the spatial distribution of these transitions, this study also identified Halswell and Wigram as the fastest developing suburbs in Christchurch. These results provided quantitative information for the effects of CES, with respect to land cover change. They allow for a better understanding for the current land cover status of Christchurch. Among those land cover changes, the significant increase in tree cover aroused particularly interest as urban forests benefit citizens via ecosystem services, including health, social, economic, and environmental benefits. Therefore, this study firstly calculated the percentages of tree cover in Christchurch’s fifteen wards in order to provide a general idea of tree cover change in the city extent. Following this, an automatic individual tree detection and crown delineation (ITCD) was undertaken to determine the feasibility of automated tree counting. The accuracies of the proposed approach ranged between 56.47% and 92.11% in thirty different sample plots, with an overall accuracy of 75.60%. Such varied accuracies were later found to be caused by the fixed tree detection window size and misclassifications from the land cover classification that affected the boundary of the CHM. Due to the large variability in accuracy, tree counting was not undertaken city-wide for both time periods. However, directions for further study for ITCD in Christchurch could be exploring ITCD approaches with variable window size or optimizing the classification approach to focus more on producing highly accurate CHMs.

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Cats all over the world hunt wild animals and can contribute to the extinction of threatened species. In New Zealand, around half of all households have at least one cat. When cats live close to a natural area, such as a wetland, they may have impacts on native species. A previous study on the movements and hunting behaviour of domestic (house) cats around the Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand during 2000-2001 raised concerns about the effects of cats on the local skink population, as skinks were a frequent prey item. My study is a comparison to the prior study, to determine if impacts have changed alongside changes in human populations in the area post-earthquake. The domestic cat population in the area was estimated by a household survey in March-April 2018. For a 6 month period from March-September 2018, 26 households recorded prey brought home by their 41 cats. During April-July 2018, 14 cats wore Global Positioning System (GPS) devices for 7 days each to track their movements. Skink abundance was measured with pitfall trapping over 20 days in February 2018. There were more households in the area in 2018 than there were in 2000, but the numbers of cats had decreased. In the 196 ha study area around Travis Wetland, the domestic cat population was estimated at 429 cats, down from the previous 494. Most of the cats were free roaming, but the majority had been desexed and many were mostly seen at home. A total of 42 prey items were reported from 26 households and 41 cats over 6 months. Of these, 62% were rodents, 26% were exotic birds, and 12% were native birds. There were no native skinks, other mammals, or other vertebrates such as fish and amphibians (invertebrates were not included in this study). Eight male and six female cats were tracked by GPS. Home range sizes for the 100% minimum convex polygons (MCPs) ranged from 1.34 to 9.68 ha (mean 4.09 ha, median 3.54 ha). There were 9/14 (64%) cats that entered the edge of the wetland. Males had significantly larger home range areas at night and in general compared with females. However, age and distance of the cat’s household to the wetland did not have a significant effect on home range size and there was no significant correlation between home range size and prey retrieved. In 20 days of skink trapping, 11 Oligosoma polychroma were caught. The estimated catch rate was not significantly different from an earlier study on skink abundance in Travis Wetland. The apparently low abundance of skinks may have been the result of successful wetland restoration creating less suitable skink habitat, or of other predators other than cats. In the future, increased education should be provided to the public about ways to increase wildlife in their area. This includes creating lizard friendly habitat in their gardens and increasing management for cats. Generally, only a few cats bring home prey often, and these select cats should be identified in initial surveys and included in further studies. In New Zealand, until management programmes can target all predators in urban areas, domestic cats could stay out at night and inside during the day to help decrease the abundance of rodents at night and reduce the number of birds and lizards caught during the day.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

A Christchurch homeowner in a five year battle with the Earthquake Commission over the damaged house she unwittingly bought says a critical new report about EQC tells her nothing new. The 27 page review by Independent Ministerial Advisor Christine Stevenson looks at how to resolve the 3,600 claims that still haven't been settled after the 2010 and 2011 quakes. The recommendations include getting the Commission to hire more staff and to stop forcing people to use the Official Information Act to get their files. It also suggests giving EQC more power to settle the on-sold claims where people bought houses under the impression all damage had been identified and fixed. Georgina Hannafin has a home that needs $260,000 worth of repairs but EQC has offered her just $48,000.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

Kaiapoi, just north of Christchurch, has unveiled a bold new plan for the parts of the town wiped off the map in the Canterbury earthquakes. The plan proposes having house boats on the river that runs through the town, there'll be a place for campervans to park up and a covered sports facility is on the cards.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

Fleur Beale is one of New Zealand's most prolific authors and the winner of many awards for children and young adult books. Her latest work is a novel that tells the story of a young girl who experienced the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. It's part of an international series called Through my Eyes - Natural Disaster Zones, which is a series written by different authors focusing on war zones and disasters throughout the world. Fleur's book is based on real accounts of what happened in Christchurch told through the eyes of a young girl, Lyla. Fleur, who has won the Margaret Mahy Medal for her outstanding contribution to children's writing, and was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, joins Kathryn to talk about her latest work, and why young adult fiction is the best and the process of getting a story right.

Research papers, Victoria University of Wellington

We measure the longer-term effect of a major earthquake on the local economy, using night-time light intensity measured from space, and investigate whether insurance claim payments for damaged residential property affected the local recovery process. We focus on the destructive Christchurch earthquake of 2011 as our case study. In this event more than 95% of residential housing units were covered by insurance, but insurance payments were staggered over 5 years, enabling us to identify their local impact. We find that night-time luminosity can capture the process of recovery and describe the recovery’s determinants. We also find that insurance payments contributed significantly to the process of economic recovery after the earthquake, but delayed payments were less affective and cash settlement of claims were more affective in contributing to local recovery than insurance-managed rebuilding.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

Businesses in the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton say something needs to be done urgently to pull the area out of an economic slump. The seaside town has struggled since the Canterbury Earthquakes, with thousands of people - and customers - leaving the area due to land damage under their homes. And they're pointing the fingers at city leaders like the Christchurch City Council and its rebuild agency, Development Christchurch. Logan Church spoke to New Brighton business owner Nigel Gilmore.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

More than 600 Christchurch home-owners face a wait of up to 18 months before its decided who foots the bill for earthquake repairs that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The problem - first revealed on Checkpoint in March - is that owners bought homes thinking all quake damage had been identified and fixed - only to find more problems that weren't addressed. The people affected cannot claim on their insurance - because the damage pre-dates them buying the house - and any grant from the Earthquake Commission is capped. EQC has publicly apologised to those affected but the Minster, Megan Woods, says it's unclear who will pay for the needed repairs.

Articles, UC QuakeStudies

A PDF copy of a page on the EQ Recovery Learning site which linked to a YouTube video. In 2015, Christchurch hosted the biggest international cricket tournament ever to be played in New Zealand - the ICC Cricket World Cup. Take a look behind the scenes and through the eyes of some of Canterbury's most passionate cricketers as cricket makes its epic return to the Hagley Oval.

Audio, Radio New Zealand

Hundreds of children and 12 schools have pre-registered for swimming lessons at Christchurch's new Taiora QE2 sports centre, which opens today. The Canterbury earthquakes damaged the complex beyond repair, and almost six years after it was demolished, a new QE2 has risen from rubble - admittedly smaller and without the athletics track the old one was so well known for. Schools in particular are welcoming today's opening, after having to spend big bucks on transport to get their students to pools for lessons since the quakes. Logan Church reports.

Articles, Christchurch uncovered

It’s been a busy month for Underground Overground Archaeology as we’ve been actively involved in New Zealand Archaeology Week 2018 running displays, historical tours, and talks – all of them highly successful thanks to history and archaeology lovers across the … Continue reading →

Articles, Christchurch uncovered

“It must have been a happy household,” was the remark made by one of our team members when she saw the artefact assemblage we are discussing on today’s blog post. Whilst children’s artefacts are relatively common finds on New Zealand … Continue reading →

Articles, Christchurch uncovered

It seems almost expected now that many of us will go on semi-frequent overseas jaunts and visit the spectacular local scenery that New Zealand has to offer. However, most of us probably don’t often think about when these destinations became … Continue reading →

Research papers, University of Canterbury Library

Detailed studies on the sediment budget may reveal valuable insights into the successive build-up of the Canterbury Plains and their modification by Holocene fluvialaction connected to major braided rivers. Additionally, they bear implications beyond these fluvial aspects. Palaeoseismological studies claim to have detected signals of major Alpine Fault earthquakes in coastal environments along the eastern seaboard of the South Island (McFadgen and Goff, 2005). This requires high connectivity between the lower reaches of major braided rivers and their mountain catchments to generate immediate significant sediment pulses. It would be contradictory to the above mentioned hypothesis though. Obtaining better control on sediment budgets of braided rivers like the Waimakariri River will finally add significant value to multiple scientific and applied topics like regional resource management. An essential first step of sediment budget studies Is to systematically map the geomorphology, conventionally in the field and/or using remote-sensing applications, to localise, genetically identify, and classify landforms or entire toposequences of the area being investigated. In formerly glaciated mountain environments it is also indispensable to obtain all available chronological information supporting subsequent investigations.