The sea-facing tourist town of Kaikoura, in North Canterbury, which was struck with an almost two-minute-long magnitude 7.8 earthquake at 12:02am on Monday, November 14, 2016, has marked the first year of the event with the Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi announcing the reopening of the Kaikoura Harbour after a yearlong restoration. (Read IWK's other story - Kaikoura Harbour opens amidst mixed emotions on first anniversary of the earthquake)
Reflecting on the past one year, the town's Mayor Winston Gray noted the opportunities the disaster has created for the region along with several challenges.
“The impact of the decrease in visitors and visitor spend is undeniable as is the influx of construction work and workers creating new business and employment areas.
The Kaikoura Plains Recovery Project will drive understanding of the damage done to our precious farming land and how to respond to it.
The redevelopment of parts of State Highway 1 as part of its rebuild will improve access to our district,” he said.
Challenges still left one year on:
In social recovery:
- Supporting residents through their personal rebuild process – insurance, legal advice through support networks, insurance advice
- Community well-being – checking in on how everyone is doing through the ‘R you ok?” campaign
- Creating a community development plan
- Continuing to develop the district's civil defence planning
In economic recovery:
- The first priority is restoring SH1 by Christmas.
- The local housing shortage – building an accurate picture of who needs what is important.
- Generating financial resources to replace and restore all existing community facilities. The Council’s Rebuild Programme currently contains 83 separate projects, covering local roads, bridges, stormwater, wastewater and drinking/tap water systems and Council-owned buildings and community facilities.
- The earthquake triggered natural hazards including rock falls, landslides, and dam bursts. Around 290 red or yellow civil defence placards were placed on buildings either due to building damage or risks from natural hazards. The assessment is still ongoing, with the district council working with geotechnical specialists, engineers and the Central Government to understand the impacts of the earthquake on buildings and land across the district.
Supporting local businesses by connecting them with tools, training and people who can help them plan for and work in the new post-quake economy, as well as setting up a local business association in Kaikoura.