Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Assistance

The November 14 earthquakes have caused significant disruption and angst for many people. The recent emergency legislation has enabled us to assist in a number of ways – particularly around permitted activity to enable people to get on with recovery. We are here to support you. If you’ve got any questions about what you can and can’t do then please call us on 0800 324 636 or e-mail

Permitted activity on rural property: the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Bill 2016:

The earthquakes have caused significant disruption to farming activities. To keep their farms running, some farmers have, or need to, replace and/or repair facilities on their land, such as septic tanks and stockwater supplies. This new legislation means a farmer within the districts of Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough can undertake emergency preventative or remedial actions without a consent provided they are:

• Related to effects of the earthquakes, and are to address risk of; loss of life or injury to humans, loss of life or serious detriment to health or wellbeing of animals; and/or serious damage to land or property; and
• Proportionate to the risks they address; and
• do not have significant adverse effects beyond the property’s border.

We do need you to let us know what work you have undertaken. You can call the Environment Canterbury offices on 0800 324 636 or send a written notice to us. Please note that the legislation directs that notification must be given to Environment Canterbury within 60 working days of the activity being done. This notice should include a brief description of the activity, location and when the work was done or is due to be done.

You can e-mail your notice to, call on the number below, or send a letter to:

200 Tuam Street
PO Box 345
Christchurch 8140

If you’ve got any questions about what you can and can’t do then please call us on 0800 324 636.


If you are removing/demolishing a structure on your property this summer, please consider the hazardous properties of the building.
Outbuildings and other structures may require demolition as a result of the earthquakes, however if burnt or buried these materials can pose a risk to human health and the environment.

Key building materials to look out for include;

  • asbestos roofing and lead-based paint of roofing materials
  • asbestos cladding and lead-based paint on timber and steel cladding
  • treated timber and lead-based paint on timber framing

Burning these materials can cause inhalation of asbestos fibres and other contaminants and be injurious to human health. Burying materials can contaminate soil, posing a health risk and affecting future land use.

Please look for potentially hazardous building materials prior to demolition and wear protective gear, in the first instance contact your local Council for advice on disposal options and if a structure does have to come down urgently – please safely contain any material by covering and wrapping it until it can be appropriately disposed of.

Recreational and commercial river users:

We recommend people stay out of the riverbeds in North Canterbury as a precautionary measure.

Parts of the Clarence River have changed significantly post-quake. The river is likely to continue to change for some time as it naturally readjusts and also after rain events.

Ultimately any commercial company or recreational users are the ones responsible for client safety and their own well-being. But, we strongly recommend that people stay out of the riverbeds due to the changed risk profile all across the North Canterbury area.

Gravel extraction:

There is plenty of gravel in Canterbury to help farm owners with repairs, including for roading and rebuilding farm tracks. However, we need to manage the region’s resources so it is important that you contact us to get a ‘gravel authorisation’. Once you apply for this, we should be able to process it within 24 hours and work with you to decide where you can get gravel from.

Landslip dams:

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on November 14 and subsequent aftershocks have triggered numerous landslides throughout North Canterbury. Some of these landslides have dammed rivers and streams, and downstream areas are potentially at risk of dam break flooding and debris flows.

We strongly advise everyone to stay away from riverbeds.

For more information go to: North Canterbury Landslide Dams.


The earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks have caused significant uplift of the seabed in some coastal areas in Kaikoura. We’re working with the Kaikoura District Council to understand what works need to be done.

NZTA’s latest update:

NZTA contractors and local work crews are working hard to re-establish access to Kaikoura from the south via State Highway 1. The aim is to restore single-lane controlled access for residents and essential services by mid-December.

Meanwhile, they’re working to increase public access in and out of Kaikoura via the inland road (route 70) as an urgent priority. Go to for more information or phone 0800 444 449 to register for a public convoy.

Rural assistance contacts:
- Contact Federated Farmers on 0800 FARMING to lodge requests for, or offers of, help on the farm.
- Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP for a private and confidential chat
- The Government’s general 0800 helpline is open from 7am - 9pm, seven days a week, to help you identify other help you may be able to access. 0800 779 997
- Talk to your accountant, bank, and Work and Income to see what other assistance you may be eligible for.

Support Package for earthquake-affected primary sector:
The Government announced $4 million towards a primary industries earthquake relief fund to help towards repair costs for some uninsurable infrastructure repairs across the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts. The application form is available here

Other support available:
Check with Work and Income about other help which may include work and income support, Mayoral relief funds, civil defence payments, help with living expenses, temporary accommodation, counselling, rural assistance payments, and financial support for businesses.