St John remembers the Canterbury Earthquakes 10 years on


On the 10th anniversary of New Zealand’s worst natural disaster, an event which will be forever etched into the minds of a generation of Christchurch people, St John Ambulance joins with New Zealanders to mark the tragedy and reflect on the catastrophic events that changed a nation.

In the hours that followed the fatal earthquake that struck at 12.51pm on 22 February 2011, St John deployed its emergency ambulance staff to triage, treat, and transport hundreds of injured people from around the city.

Over the following days and weeks, hundreds of St John people from around Aotearoa worked tirelessly to help care for the Christchurch community.

Today, St John staff will gather together to observe commemorations at the official civic memorial being held at Oi Manawa memorial wall and acknowledge the impact the 22 February earthquake had on victims and their families, current and former citizens of Christchurch and our own St John people.

St John’s Chief Executive Peter Bradley praised the bravery and dedication of its frontline ambulance officers. St John staff were involved in the rescue efforts at the CTV and PGC buildings and were involved with Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams, accompanying the teams as they searched for survivors in damaged buildings.

“Our people responded immediately and without hesitation to the events of February 22, many of them with their own homes destroyed and some with family members injured in the earthquake.”

St John also played a lead role in the emergency evacuation of residents and patients from rests homes and other care facilities, as well as providing 24-hour care at welfare centres set up around the city.

Key learnings were identified from the tragedy and led to improved and consistent policies, systems and equipment across the service. St John Ambulance’s major incident management plan was developed and the first Major Incident Caches (boxes containing vital equipment and documentation for use during a major incident) were produced.

The earthquake helped shape the future of St John’s own staff support mechanisms, being the catalyst for a strong and effective Peer Support programme and leading to more robust support systems for staff in times of crisis, along with the appointment of a full-time psychologist.

Our heartfelt thoughts remain with the victims and their families, our people and our emergency and health services colleagues, and the people of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Ka maumahara tātou – we remember them.




Gerard Campbell
St John Communications Advisor

M: 027 567 2083

Beverley Tse
St John Communications Advisor

M: 027 318 1553

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