A mother who endured the Canterbury earthquakes and then lost her 12-year-old daughter in a horrific car crash will give a keynote talk about resilience later this month.

Lucy Hone's daughter Abi, her friend Ella Summerfield, also 12, and Ella's 49-year old mother, Sally were all killed when Dutch businessman Johannes Jacobus Appelman ran a stop sign near Rakaia on Queen's Birthday weekend.

Watch: Crash tragedy: Victims' family speak

Families of the victims of the tragic car crash that killed three people made a brief statement outside court after Dutch businessman Johannes Appelman was sentenced today.

Sally Summerfield and her daughter Ella, 12, were also killed in the crash.

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Around 2000 mourners attended Abi's funeral at her old primary school in Sumner to pay tribute to "one of the most loved little girls that could be around".

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Now, mother Mrs Hone will speak about her experiences at the second annual New Zealand tertiary engagement summit at the University of Canterbury later this month.

She says that having lived in Sumner through the quakes, and then losing her beloved daughter, had given her first-hand experience of how community engagement relates to resilience.

"I had learned a great deal about the importance of communities for resilience from my masters programme at the University of Pennsylvania. But I had no conception of how the theory played out in the real world until the earthquakes hit," Mrs Hone said.

"Given that I started my PhD three weeks before the February quake and was approaching the end of it when Abi, Sally and Ella were killed, I now have first-hand knowledge and experience of the benefits of close-knit, fully-engaged communities."

The Hone family could not have made it through the last five months without the "amazing generosity, kindness, compassion and empathy" shown to them by their local Sumner community, as well as the wider city.

It is important for people to realise that community involvement takes many forms, Mrs Hone said.

"It's not just about official volunteering, where you are required to regularly commit, some people just aren't able to do that.

"But there are so many ad hoc ways to give your time, energy and resources to communities.

"Whether it is sharing some baking with a neighbour, doing your stint on pool duty, driving friends' kids to sport, or having them to stay overnight when the parents are away."

As part of her work at the Human Potential Centre in Auckland, New Zealand's first ever national wellbeing survey has been carried out.

Results from more than 10,000 adult respondents from all over the country found "significant benefits" from being part of a close community.

It found that those who feel close to people in their local area are four times more likely to experience the highest levels of wellbeing, even after taking their age, region, income, gender and job function into consideration.

They are also twice as likely to be scoring in the top 10 per cent on measures of resilience.

"I like to think of resilient communities as super-organisms where the whole is so much stronger, and more able, than the sum of its individual parts," Mrs Hone said.

More than 10 national and international experts will deliver key addresses to the summit at the University of Canterbury on November 24.