Surveying the wellbeing of Cantabrians

The Canterbury Wellbeing Survey is an opportunity for residents of greater Christchurch to say how they’re going and what they think about the earthquake recovery.

The Survey will be repeated annually from 2017 with the participation of a random selection of around 2,500 greater Christchurch residents. The survey has previously been conducted every six months.

The feedback given by residents helps identify what:

  • promotes wellbeing;
  • causes people stress,
  • impacts on their quality of life and social connectedness,
  • barriers they’re facing and opportunities they’ve encountered,
  • satisfies them about the recovery and
  • positive impacts they’re experiencing as a result of the earthquakes.

Public input from the Survey helps measure earthquake recovery progress and gives the Canterbury DHB and other agencies an idea of emerging trends in community wellbeing.

Data from the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey is incorporated into the Canterbury Wellbeing Index.

2016 Canterbury Wellbeing Survey

Over 3,100 greater Christchurch residents took part in the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey in April 2016.

The findings show that life for many in Canterbury is improving as our recovery heads into its seventh year. Although many indicators are heading in the right direction, a number are still facing significant hurdles to their recovery.

The report and data from the September 2016 Canterbury Wellbeing Survey will be released in the coming months.

Key findings from the latest Wellbeing Survey

Continued wellbeing improvements

82 percent rated their quality of life as good or extremely good.The Survey shows continued improvements in wellbeing across many of the measures.

  • Quality of life continues to increase, with 82% stating their quality of life is good or extremely good, up from 77% in September 2015.
  • The WHO-5 Wellbeing Index is another measure of wellbeing that also shows that many are faring better. The average WHO-5 score has improved significantly since September 2015.
  • However quality of life and WHO-5 scores were lowest for low income households, those who are renting, and those with a health condition or disability.

Overall, fewer Survey respondents are being negatively impacted by the stressors caused by the earthquakes. There have been statistically significant reductions in the number of people reporting that the loss of community facilities, living in a damaged environment, and dealing with EQC and insurance issues are negatively impacting their everyday lives.

  • In September 2012, 37 percent said that dealing with EQC/insurance issues was having a strong negative impact on their wellbeing. This fell to 13 percent last year and 10 percent this year.
  • In September 2012, 30 percent said being in a damaged environment and/or surrounded by construction work was having a strong negative impact on their wellbeing. This fell to 20 percent last year and 14 percent this year.
  • Signs of progress around the city, and access to new and repaired recreational, cultural and leisure time facilities and spaces, are positively impacting peoples’ lives. These indicators are at their highest levels since they were first measured.
Fewer people said living in a damaged environment was having a strong negative wellbeing impact - 30 percent in 2012, and 14 percent in 2016.

Increased aftershock anxiety

The proportion of people experiencing anxiety about ongoing aftershocks is the only indicator where the negative impact has increased. This is now at its highest level since September 2012, and likely results from the 5.7 magnitude earthquake experienced in Christchurch on 14th February 2016.

Ongoing quake impacts

While there are many signs of progress, the impacts of the quakes are ongoing for many.

  •  43 percent of those who own the dwelling they usually live in, and where that dwelling was or is being repaired by EQC or their private insurer, are concerned about the quality of repairs or believe re-repairs are required1.
  • For 30 percent of respondents, living in a damaged environment is still having some negative impact on their everyday lives.

1 Note: This question was only asked of those who made a claim on the property they own or co-own and usually live in. Therefore it was not relevant to some homeowners, such as those who were red zoned, who have since sold a property they made a claim on, or who own a rental property.

For more information, contact:

Emma Kenagy
Ph:+64 3 378 6707


Ring the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846, if you are finding it hard and need support.

You will be able to talk to someone about accessing the kind of support you need.


Past CERA Wellbeing Survey reports

2015 Canterbury Wellbeing Surveys

2014 Canterbury Wellbeing Surveys

2013 Canterbury Wellbeing Surveys

2012 Canterbury Wellbeing Survey

Page last updated: 19/05/2017

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