photos of a working bee, outdoor piano and people protesting

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.

It 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.

Monitoring Human Rights in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

The Human Rights Commission's report Monitoring Human Rights in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery has been released. The aim of this report is to encourage influencers and decision-makers to apply a human rights approach, by putting human rights principles at the centre of...


14 October 2013 Read the submissions by the Human Rights Commission to the Court of Appeal in the Quake Outcasts (Word) or read the PDF version of the Commission's submission to the Court of Appeal in the Quake Outcasts (PDF). 2 September 2013 The New Zealand Law Society...

Nothing about us, without us

People affected by the earthquakes have the right to have their say on decisions that affect them. To do this, they need access to information about how these decisions are made, and how they can voice their concerns or make appeals. This section collects in one place the...

Access for all

The rebuilding of Christchurch provides an opportunity to build a world class accessible city, rethink how support services are provided and make the most of the employment opportunities that the rebuild provides. International experience shows that the most vulnerable...

Housing and health

The right to an adequate standard of living is one of the key rights laid out in the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). By being a signatory to the ICESCR, New Zealand has agreed to take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of...

Current thinking from NZ and overseas

Chief Commissioner says we must look to overseas experience for Canterbury recovery Chief Commissioner David Rutherford recently spoke on human rights and disaster recovery at the 10th World Conference of the International Ombudsmen's Institute in Wellington. He highlighted...

Back to top