Canterbury recovery

Canterbury recovery


The reinstatement of Canterbury homes, businesses and communities has visibly increased and our own Repair and Rebuild Programme continues to move forward with pace. Helping our customers move on from the earthquakes is the priority of our Claims Teams, Loss Adjusters and Rebuild partners.


For further information along with ideas and tips that will support your reinstatement please visit


If you have any questions about your claim for earthquake damage, please contact your NZI Claims Case Manager or Broker.


Background to the earthquakes 

The first, and largest magnitude, earthquake occurred on 4 September 2010. Its magnitude – 7.1 on the Richter Scale – put it in the class of a major earthquake likely to cause serious damage. And it did. 


The earthquake was centred 30km west of Christchurch at a depth of 10km. When it hit it buckled land, caused extensive liquefaction, toppled chimneys and did serious damage to homes and infrastructure. Thankfully, there was no loss of life, mainly because of the time it hit – 4.35am on a Saturday morning.


Many large aftershocks followed, including a magnitude 4.9 on Boxing Day 2010.


Then, just as Cantabrians were adjusting to the ‘new normal’, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit – just before 1pm on Tuesday, 22 February 2011.


Although smaller in magnitude, the earthquake was centred close to the CBD, causing extensive damage. Sadly, this event caused the loss of 185 lives, making it New Zealand’s second deadliest natural disaster.


It was also easily New Zealand’s most expensive natural disaster. In fact, with an estimated total cost to insurers in excess of $13 billion from this shake alone, it’s one of the most expensive insured events in the world.


In addition to these major events, there have been more than 12,000 aftershocks, including more than 50 in excess of magnitude 5.