Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Life in post-disaster Christchurch improving - survey

The Wellbeing Survey garnered responses from 2381 residents selected randomly from the electoral roll in Christchurch city, the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts. Photo / Geoff Sloan
The Wellbeing Survey garnered responses from 2381 residents selected randomly from the electoral roll in Christchurch city, the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Life in post-disaster Christchurch is continuing to improve, according to a new survey which has found three-quarters of residents say life is good.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says Cantabrians' positivity and resilience has shone through in the results of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's 2012 Wellbeing Survey.

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While most respondents reported experiencing stress that had a negative effect on them, 74 per cent rated their overall quality of life as good or extremely good.

Only 7 per cent rated their quality of life as being poor or extremely poor.

Conducted for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) by Nielsen Research between August and October 2012, the Wellbeing Survey garnered responses from 2381 residents selected randomly from the electoral roll in Christchurch city, the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts.

Asked about positive outcomes arising from the earthquakes, 76 per cent had experienced pride in the ability to cope under difficult circumstances, 69 per cent increased resilience as a family, 68 per cent had a renewed appreciation of life, and 67 per cent a heightened sense of community.

"What this shows is that despite the enormous challenges people have faced across greater Christchurch, they have battled on and continue to find positives," Mr Brownlee said.

The Wellbeing Survey also reveals many challenges thrown up by the earthquakes continue to impact on the lives of the respondents.

The three most prevalent negative impacts experienced as a result of the earthquake were identified as: loss of recreational, cultural and leisure time activities; distress and anxiety associated with on-going aftershocks; and dealing with EQC or insurance issues.

It also found that higher proportions of Christchurch residents have experienced a strong negative impact on their everyday lives as a result of the earthquakes.

An overwhelming 97 per cent of residents have experienced stress at least some time in the past year, while nearly a quarter indicated they have been living with this type of stress for most or all of the time over the past year.

"There is still a long way to go in the recovery, both in terms of the physical rebuild and in supporting people to recover from the effects of the earthquakes," Mr Brownlee said.

Asked about their overall confidence in earthquake recovery decisions, 60 per cent of respondents were very confident, confident or neutral about the decision-making.

When asked about their confidence in Cera's decision-making, 68 per cent of respondents were very confident, confident or neutral.

Findings from the second part of the Wellbeing Survey - an online component open to all residents on the Cera website - are due to be released later in the year.

The intention is to conduct further surveys at six-monthly intervals until the end of 2014 to monitor progress.

The Wellbeing Survey was commissioned to help guide the ongoing work of Cera and its partners, including local councils, the Canterbury District Health Board, the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

Full survey results can be viewed at www.cera.govt.nz.

- APNZ

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