Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

The Canterbury earthquakes represent New Zealand’s greatest contemporary human rights challenge.

The Commission has a unique and necessary role to play in the Canterbury recovery. It has the mandate and expertise to help the people of Canterbury find practical ways to sort problems that have a foundation in human rights.

Human rights matter to New Zealanders. Cantabrians and New Zealanders from all walks of life have responded to the Canterbury earthquakes in a way that has reinforced the respect for values that run deep in New Zealand.

The Commission is working to ensure fairness and inclusion is embedded in the rebuild and recovery process.

The Commission has a specific role to monitor human rights issues and will benchmark this work against international best practice.

People with human rights enquiries and complaints are welcome to discuss their issues with the Commission’s Enquiries and Complaints team.

The Commission will also continue its commitment to working with the people of Canterbury, Government and its agencies including CERA, tangata whenua, local authorities, non-government agencies and business to ensure that:

  • the voices of vulnerable and affected people are heard and their dignity respected
  • the recovery goal to make Christchurch the world’s most accessible city is achieved
  • rights, such as the right to health are realised and not compromised by uncertainty or unneeded delay in getting a safe and warm home and a connection to the community.

Canterbury Earthquakes: review and appeal rights

This information collects in one place the review or appeal rights for common situations people face arising out of the earthquakes in Canterbury. It does not claim to be a comprehensive review of all the appeal and or appeal rights. If you would like legal advice you should consult a lawyer.

CPIT Outdoor 10PinBowling 300x192 Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Architecture students from Christchurch Polytechnic created a 50s style outdoor 10-pin bowling alley at the former Jetset Lounge property at 270 St Asaph St. Credit: Gapfiller project.

This information comes from the websites of the Christchurch City Council, CERA, Fletcher Earthquake Recovery, the Office of the Ombudsmen and from research by the Human Rights Commission.

Some review and or appeal rights relate to a particular issue and others apply in most, if not all, situations.

Declining the government’s offer


  • Opting out of the EQC managed Canterbury Home Repair Programme
  • Complaints about repairs and resolving disputes with EQC
  • What complaints processes are available if I am unhappy with the Fletcher Earthquake Recovery or building contractor repairs/service provision?

General HRC information on accommodation, property, landlords and human rights

 General Zoning Issues

  •  The ultimate future of the land in the residential red zones
  • Zoning of my house

Obtaining reasons for decisions made by CERA about you

Obtaining reasons for decisions made by a council about you

Other rights of review/appeal

The review of red stickered notices

  • Proper use of legislation
  • Who pays for work on red stickered buildings?

Witholding of ‘economically sensitive or ‘commercially sensitive’ information

Zoning decisions

  • The government’s offer to purchase a property and appealing zoning decisions


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