web analytics

Christchurch earthquake

Click here for further Christchurch earthquake updates. It appears that WordPress only allows a post to go to a certain length – so this post has been misbehaving recently. Sorry.

Church of St John the Baptist, Central Christchurch
Church of St John the Baptist, Central Christchurch

Christchurch and Canterbury suffered a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.1 on Saturday September 5 at 4:35am. This has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks, many of them significant. 100,000 homes have been damaged. Much of central city Christchurch is closed. This page has been following developments as best as possible, and with its significance in a search for “Christchurch earthquake” has been reorganized to be as helpful as possible.

The above animation was inserted into this post on September 6. It is taken from here.

Click here for the top animation I can find for the quake period.

What is open and available

A Google Map has been created by Mr David Knight from Wellington to help people in Canterbury find out what services and shops are open, and what roads and bridges are closed, following Saturday’s devastating 7.1 earthquake and its hundreds of aftershocks.
View Canterbury & Christchurch Earthquake Map – What’s open and working? in a larger map

Anyone can add information to the map, which is continuously being updated. My suggestion is that churches also add what they can currently provide.

Making donations

To make a donation for victims of the quake:
– Phone 0900 33 200 to make an automatic $20 donation
– FreeTXT ‘QUAKE’ to 555 to donate $5 or FreeTXT ‘QUAKE’ to 333 to donate $3 from any Vodafone mobile
– Donate online at redcross.org.nz
– Donate in person at any branch of NZ Post, Kiwibank, ANZ, National Bank, ASB, TSB and BNZ across New Zealand.
– Mail a cheque (made payable to New Zealand Red Cross) to: Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, Freepost 232690, PO Box 12-140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144.


Facebook event: “Student Volunteer base for Earthquake clean up” has over 3,000 attending – going out to help where needed. I’m proud of you Sam! A cheer for many young people out there helping – there’s a lot of positive stories in amongst the frazzled, tired, frightened most-of-us.

Church services

Wonderful collection of worship & prayer resources for following a natural disaster

Anglican services this Sunday
Roman Catholic services this Sunday

The Anglican Cathedral congregation will be meeting here at Christ’s College. The Chapel pre-dates the cathedral and the diocesan offices were first here. Christ’s College was intended for the Square, with the cathedral as its chapel. When Christ’s College moved to its current site there were complaints about how far it was away from the city!

Sunday September 12 update

Slip closes road and rail between Christchurch and Kaikoura.

Cathedral Square - the Dean presides - the Wizard in the congregation
Cathedral Square the Dean presides the Wizard in the congregation

Cathedral Square service on TV3 news
Cathedral Square service on TV1 news

A congregation of about 500 were at the 10am Eucharist in Cathedral Square, the Cathedral being closed until further notice. (photo source: Anglican Taonga)
The bishop’s pastoral letter
Lynda Patterson’s Cathedral Square sermon

Anglican communities throughout the diocese now have signs everywhere:
Feeling Shaken?
Open to talk and pra

There have been eight quakes in the last 24 hours (366 quakes in total so far. 3 hours of quakes in total). A fire destroyed a home opposite the Arts Centre in the night. St Luke’s community worshipped at St Michael’s. St Luke’s structural damage appears to have happened in the Wednesday morning quake. The Community of the Sacred Name brick building is questionable. As is Rosary House. St Paul’s Dallington, I understand, will be demolished.

Saturday September 11 update

Still quakes. The cordon in the central city has been removed. Demolition continues.
The City Mission is able to provide help
I know people have also taken furniture etc. to the Salvation Army in Linwood (177 Linwood Ave) for others who need it.

Friday September 10 update

The cordon was to have been removed in central Christchurch, but, after quakes in the night, the cordon is still in place. 2,300 homes are uninhabitable. Job losses are beginning to be announced.

Thursday September 9 update

Update 3:30pm

Bishop Victoria deconsecrates historic chapel at Churchill Courts
Bishop Victoria deconsecrates historic chapel at Churchill Courts

With no real warning the historic chapel at Christchurch’s Churchill Courts aged care complex was hastily deconsecrated yesterday as a demolition crew waited to tear down the dangerous, unstable building.

It was originally built to serve St Saviour’s orphanage. The orphanage has long gone, but the chapel found a new life when the Churchill Courts’ complex was built around it. Further photos and text at Taonga.

Update September 9 9:30am: There have only been 7 aftershocks in the night – only three 4 or more in strength. There have been a total of over 350 shocks, lasting a total of about 3 hours. Southbridge school is the first to re-open. Central Christchurch is still closed.Yesterday’s morning quake may have originated from a different fault. A 6 strength shake is still possible, and may even happen months from now.

Wednesday September 8 update

Update September 8 8:30am. Ongoing quakes through the night; then a BIG shake at 7:50am. Lost power for about 20 minutes. On the radio people sound tired, frazzled, frightened. Concern and convictions that other buildings would have been lost. Surprised to see it was only 5.1 – must have been its distance and depth. People checking on each other.
Latest on the new cracks in the cathedral: they have been checked and it appears the building is structurally sound.

Update September 8 2:30pm:
I am not now sure what is happening to the New Zealand Express Company building imaged above. Possibly it is being dismantled rather than demolished. State of Emergency has been extended to next Wednesday September 15.

Of the two badly injured, one has been discharged, the other is still critical in Intensive Care. The sharp quake this morning meant the Civil Defence HQ in the Art Gallery was evacuated.

Update September 8 9:45pm: I have uploaded some more photos I took today onto the slide-show near the top of this post.
Good updates as they happen on the Herald website. Interestingly, this site is mentioned today there at 8:30am
Estimate of the cost has now doubled to $4 billion.

Flickr photos
Water restrictions have been lifted. Water is now safe again in Christchurch & Banks Peninsula (& we have the best water in the world!)

Tuesday September 7 update

Update 9:30am September 7: Aftershocks continue.
The Church of the Holy Innocents, near Peel Forest, was damaged

Update 6:30pm September 7:

St John's Hororata
St John's Hororata

There have been over 120 aftershocks 35 on Saturday up to 5.4; 37 on Sunday up to 5.1; 33 on Monday up to 5.4; 11 today up to 5.4.
Schools and Kindergartens will be closed until September 13.
There are estimated to be 5,000 houses not insured.
The government will help those not earning because of the quake.Cracks have appeared in the Anglican cathedral after the afterquakes.
At lease one welfare centre has been evacuated after further aftershocks.
There are temporary power generators in place.
All Saudi students are being evacuated by their government.
Boarders from the school where I am chaplain joined other young people to clear up where helpful. The Prime Minister has cancelled his overseas trip as has the Bishop of Christchurch. St Albans Coptic church has had major damage to its facade and side wall.
Update on the Christchurch Anglican Diocese website.
There was a quake in Hawke’s Bay today, magnitude 5.2.
The beautiful, significant building, imaged below, is unable to be saved. It was built for the New Zealand Express Company in 1905-1906 and at the time of its construction it was the tallest commercial building in Christchurch. (video clip)


Monday September 6 update

Update 8pm September 6: It appears 100,000 homes are damaged. The State of Emergency may be up for days. There have been about 100 aftershocks. You can check latest quakes here.

St Mary’s, Timaru has been damaged.
Video of the Vicar of Hororata
Images on the Anglican news website (Taonga).

St Mary’s Merivale (and Hall and Vicarage), St Barnabas’ Fendalton, St Matthew’s St Albans, Holy Trinity, Avonside, the Community of the Sacred Name, Rugby Street Methodist Church and Hall, and the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church have all been damaged.

Sunday September 5

Thank you to all for thoughts and prayers for all affected here. It was certainly a very frightening experience – the strongest earthquake in a city here since 1931. The remarkable thing is that an earthquake of 7.1 on the Richter Scale has resulted in no deaths as far as can be ascertained. There have been over 30 aftershocks – some up to magnitude 5.4. These could continue for weeks.

Some of my photos:

The bishop writes, ““My prayers go out to all those in the diocese who have been impacted by the earthquake. We praise God that there were no deaths or severe injuries and my thoughts are with those parishes that have received significant damage. I am aware that many in our diocese are feeling anxious with the ongoing after shocks but I pray that the peace of God be with you and all those involved in the clean up operation at this time.”

St John’s Church, Hororata, near the epicentre of the earthquake, is perhaps the worst-damaged church building (see video clip following). In the central city, St John the Baptist, Latimer Square, has had damage to its bell tower. St Luke’s in the City has lost brick from a number of its window peaks. Other churches further out have also been affected. The Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals appear to have survived extremely well. Christ’s College has come through very well – past work strengthening the buildings has been remarkably successful. The chapel appears unscathed.

A reflection on the difference between Haiti and Christchurch – both experienced an earthquake strength 7. (H/T Brian McMichael)

Other image:
from the Herald
from Yahoo
from the Guardian
from Stuff

6pm update: Every building is being systematically examined and rated.
Green – all safe
Red – no access
Yellow – restricted access

The Anglican cathedral has a green.

Little by little, some areas of central Christchurch are being classified outside the cordon. St Michael and All Angels is now outside the cordon and appears fine.

20% of the city is without water. There are 200 breaks in the water system. Forecasted strong winds haven’t yet arrived – still expected. Basically there is a blanket closure of buildings until Wednesday or until checked by a structural engineer. Urban search and rescue teams have also gone through every place.

10:30pm update: more photos

This is a video of the first flyover of the fault trace.

Similar Posts:

36 thoughts on “Christchurch earthquake”

  1. Fr Bosco, can you tell us how St Michael and All Angels’ Church has fared? I’ve seen lots of damaged stone- and brick-work, but no pictures of wooden buildings. I’m hoping wood is a bit more flexible than stone or bricks.

    1. Robert, as I said, the central city is closed to all, so we cannot walk there to have a look. It is not included in any lists, and like you, I suspect that it has survived well. Wooden houses are generally undamaged – although some have moved.

      6pm update: St Michael and all Angels appears fine.

  2. Fr Peter rang me to say S. Michael’s is undamaged including the stone building that was earthquake strengthened when the school was rebuilt. C.S.N. has had some damage.

  3. Bosco, thanks for thinking of us overseas and knowing that we are eager for news about you. I’ve downloaded a couple of photos for use on dailyoffice.org. Prayers for all.

  4. It looks like your earthquake was around the same magnitude than that in Haiti – I bet those “in the know” about planning procedures ect are thanking God for the lack of the corruption that was the root cause of the death and pandemomium in Haiti.

    Thank God, too, that you’re still alive, and those you know and are in charge of.

  5. I’m just home from the meeting of the Third Order Anglican Franciscans in Western Australia and was asked to convey our prayers and thoughts.

  6. I give thanks to God that no-one was killed in their beds. I hope all of you in the area have peace during these difficulties and that He will help you build each other up during the rebuilding times.

  7. Continued prayers are you, family, congregation, and citizens of affected area recovering, regain, and rebuild. God’s Blessings..Maralene, Chippewa Falls, WI, USA

  8. Dear Fr. Bosco,

    Thanks be to God that you are safe. Thanks be to God for the sparing of life and limb, and for the relative sparing of property, during your recent disaster with respect to the similarly powerful, 2010 Haitian earthquake.

    In thanksgiving for Divine grace and providence and the demonstrated protection afforded by the wealth and technology available and in effect in the Developed World, I offer some information about the Haitian earthquake and its aftermath.

    I practice in Rehabilitation Medicine. I went to Haiti in April. I am now on the board of my local affiliate of Healing Hands for Haiti http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org The devastation, disabling injuries and pre-existing poverty I witnessed were dreadful.

    The Haitian earthquake of January 2010 was more than twice as lethal as any previous magnitude 7.0 event on record. Precise totals will never be known, but current United Nations estimates are 250,000-300,000 deaths, which is more than twice that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. In addition, there were 300,000 injuries and 245,000 buildings were destroyed, which rendered 1.5 million Haitians homeless, most of whom are now living in tent cities. The total number of amputations caused by the earthquake is estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000. At least 1,000 lower-limb prostheses will be needed. There are an estimated 100 to 150 people injured in the earthquake, who have survived with disabling spinal cord injuries requiring life-changing care, support and equipment for the foreseeable future, many more with spinal cord injuries under the circumstances did not survive.

    Since 1874, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti http://www.egliseepiscopaledhaiti.org/Crise_of_Haiti.html has been an important institution in development and post-earthquake recovery in Haiti http://www.cmmh.org/edh.php Much of the infrastructure of the charitable and development apparatus has been destroyed or damaged in the earthquake.

    Headquartered here in Boston, the Society of St. Margaret http://www.ssmbos.com/Pages/Haiti.html has been working in Haiti since 1927. They established St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children http://www.cmmh.org/stvincents.php and continue to run the Foyer de Notre Dame, a home for indigent elderly people as well as direct a scholarship program for needy children and young people.

    Remember the etymology of Liturgy is from Latin liturgia, from Ancient Greek λειτουργία < λειτ-, from λαός, people + -ουργός < ἔργον, work (the public work of the people done on behalf of the people).


  9. amongst all the devastation this earthquake has caused the words of ‘no deaths’ are blessed to read. buildings, roads, homes can all be rebuilt …… a life cannot.
    continued prayers for all affected by this awful disaster †.

  10. Thanks, Bosco, for a job well done on this thread. St. Michael & All Angels, Christchurch will, I understand, not be open for worship until there has been an architectural survey of the building. Seemingly, all was well inside – apart from a few bent candles on the High Altar when I went in on Saturday – after the main quake. There was a 2-person Mass on Sunday, but no further services until the building has been cleared.

    Thanks, everyone, for your prayers. It’s good to know that there are members of our Anglican Family throughout the world who are keeping us in mind. Life goes on – Deo Gratias.

  11. My deepest apology for what you all are facing right now, I was so comforted in reading that were no reported deaths. Landmarks, etc even though they are beautiful can be replaced, human life cannot be. Again I am happy there are no deaths reported. I will continue to keep everyone in my thoughts & prayers. Christy, Kentucky USA

  12. my deepest feeling right now is feeling sorri 4 all da christchurch people. hope dey r safe and sound and will soon get their homes back renewed and you all feel happy again ..*..*

  13. It is remarkable that nobody was killed in the earthquake, and there are some stunning survival stories (including my neighbour who was thrown out of bed, just before a bookcase crashed down on where she was). There is a need to address the spiritual and psychological needs of people when a disaster has gone on beyond the adrenaline stage, and the local Salvation Army had a good idea with its “prayer and cuppa” sign. I know people from the parishes are going out into the community to help, but I think there is also a risk that the (very sensible) precautions taken to keep old church buildings closed for safety might make it seem there is nowhere for people to go for spiritual aid. Just like we miss out advertising in the weddings section of the newspaper, we might not be making it clear where people can go for spiritual nourishment now. I hope we can respond to changing needs of the earthquake victims, and I hope what we do (and fail to do) can be studied to help other places in similar circumstances. In particular, the tricky bit to get right seems to be the transition from prioritising physical safety to recognising the ongoing strain in victims and support people alike.

  14. Did not realize you all were still dealing with aftershocks. That must be harrowing. Does it just bring all the a stress of the initial quake back? Thoughts and prayers!

    1. Thanks, Davanna. The second big quake, on Wednesday, actually caused significant damage. Many scientists keep talking about a quake measuring 6 to come following the initial 7.1 – that can be weeks, even months awy. It is all tiring and puts people on edge.

    1. Thanks Bonnie.

      Ah – the Wizard, David. Ummm… that’s one of those you had to have been there type persons. But “the local pagan priest”!!! I guess that would depend on what you mean by “local”, “pagan”, and “priest”. Certainly I don’t think he would so describe himself. I know him and Alice quite well. Put it this way – when Richard Rohr was here, they were both there. Here’s a pedantic Wikipedia entry. And here’s the official site. If you are more confused than previously, you are probably closer to the truth 🙂

  15. Dear Fr. Bosco,

    Words cannot express the amount of heartfelt emotion many of us feel for you and all the people of the Christchurch area. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, each and every day and night. Sending many warm hugs with a lot of love from Phoenix, Arizona. Blessings to all!

  16. Some info about rebuilding safe chimneys people need to be aware of. Insurance Company rebuilding chimneys after the last shake puts lives in danger.

    Chimneys falling down in earthquakes are old news but ironically it is the Insurance companies that fixed the chimneys last time that caused so much damage to our Classic and Heritage homes in the current quake. Instead of rebuilding heritage and classic home chimneys with lightweight replica chimneys after the Inangahua Earthquake of 1968, well meaning tradesmen re-installed heavyweight masonry tops to those that had toppled, presumably paid for by Insurance companies. These masonry tops were cemented together, where before they had used simple and weak lime mortar. Instead of rattling to individual bricks as they had in the past, staying outside the building envelope, these massive blocks tilted and fell as one giant battering ram straight through people’s homes. It is simply miraculous that people were not killed. In two story buildings they fell through roof, ceiling and then continued through the next floor and ceiling to imbed themselves up to a foot deep in the soil beneath the wooden floor of the bottom story. The original lime mortared chimneystack in most cases stayed where it was. Thus the insurance companies have unintentionally caused some of the worst damage seen to our classic and heritage homes here in Christchurch. Are they learning from their mistakes? No. Again, here in Christchurch, there are well meaning people, reinstating heavy masonry chimneys on old un-reinforced lime mortared together chimney stacks. Two at least on large two story Heritage houses in the central city. These will fall in the next earthquake and will kill if any one is in the wrong place, under them. These are illegal under the Building Act, even though currently, in non-heritage houses, they do not need a building permit for reinstatement. Not only are the bricks themselves unable to be reused as they are not engineered, fit for use, but also the structure makes people unsafe. Tradespeople risk prosecution. If chimneys need to be reinstated because they are part of the Heritage landscape, amenity value of the city, or a metal flue tube would diminish the classic look and thus heritage and capital value of the home, the chimneys should be reinstated using a lightweight heritage replica chimney of the same or similar external design. It will need to be engineered as an acceptable solution and conform to the modern relevant building code requirements, NZS3604 or similar. This will mean that chimneys can withstand the next Earthquake without costing their owners and their Insurance companies the huge payouts for damage and possibly death. Let us all learn from our mistakes.
    http://www.HeritageReplicaChimney.co.nz has a solution.

    1. David, I usually do not allow “advertising” through moderation, but we have been discussing, seriously and humorously, the need and possibilities for setting up a company like this – so well done, and best wishes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.