Christchurch’s resilience journey

In 2010 and 2011, Christchurch experienced a series of earthquakes, which included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. The initial earthquake had a devastating effect on residential suburbs affected by liquefaction and lateral spread. Hundreds of commercial buildings were demolished and thousands of homes had to be rebuilt. There was extensive damage to schools and hospitals, and to essential infrastructure.

“Resilience” is a word we have heard a lot in Greater Christchurch since the earthquakes. No matter our familiarity with this word in our day-to-day lives, it is important that we collectively understand the concept of resilience.

We know that we will encounter future challenges. This is not simply about preparing our infrastructure or our built environment, and it is not about “bouncing back” to the way things used to be. For us, resilience will be about understanding the risks and challenges we face and developing ways to adapt and co-create a new normal. The strength of our resilience lies in us, not only as individuals, but as communities and whānau.

We were already working together as a group of leaders before the earthquakes struck. The Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan further enables the city and district leaders to work together to empower our communities to face the future with confidence, and creates an ongoing commitment to visible collaborative leadership.

As we shift from recovery to regeneration, we can restate the importance of collaboration between the city, the districts and the region, Central Government, the Canterbury District Health Board, and most importantly with the many and varied communities that make up this special part of New Zealand.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Mike Gillooly

Chief Resilience Officer

Mike Gillooly was appointed the first Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Christchurch in 2014. Prior to becoming CRO, he was Land Drainage Operations Manager for the Christchurch City Council. During that time, Mike led the city’s response to flooding, which increased in some areas following the earthquakes that hit in 2010 and 2011.

Mike has more than 20 years’ experience in local government and consulting in the private sector. His cross-sector project management experience spans local and central government, and includes Land Information New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission, the Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment, and the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

Mike has a strong local-government background in engineering and resource management planning. He has delivered several successful initiatives, including the complete review of Council’s Infrastructure Design Standards, and the post-earthquake development and implementation of the Land Drainage Recovery Programme, which is a $10.6 million investigation that will inform and define the $179-million earthquake recovery programme.

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