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March 2011
Home > Operation Earthquake

Quake response swift and full

Buildings collapsed, fires raged, people were trapped in rubble and bodies lay in the streets. The 6.3 earthquake of 22 February brought carnage to Christchurch and many of its suburbs.

The Police response was swift. While Canterbury staff fought to save lives in the rubble, more than 200 staff were deployed from other districts. A contingent of 300 police officers representing every Australian jurisdiction followed soon after, along with disaster specialists from around the world.

From the frontline to the backroom, police were deeply involved at every level of Christchurch’s earthquake rescue and recovery response.

Police worked desperately among ruins and chaos to rescue survivors in the hours immediately after the quake.
More than 500 media representatives were updated with regular conferences and controlled visits to the CBD. Senior Constable Darrin Harris helped keep them in line.
After initial frantic rescue efforts, access to the CBD was limited to keep the public safe and allow rescuers to work unimpeded.
Photo: NZ Herald
Photo: Grant Ogilvie, Public Affairs
Photo: Kim Perks, Central District

A team of ethnic liaison officers, led by Superintendent Wally Haumaha (right) supported victims’ families from countries including Japan, China, Thailand, the Philippines and Korea.
Constable Lyal Bayliss and Brock, of Christchurch, worked alongside victim recovery and SAR dogs from Wellington and Auckland.
Photo: Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Ten-One
Photo: Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Ten-One
Recovery planning began while the rescue operation continued. A team led by Inspector Willie Taylor (second from left) included military planning experts.
Eagle’s helicopter patrols sent a stern message to would-be looters. All Black captain and Cantabrian Richie McCaw (centre) visited Auckland City Team Policing staff before joining Eagle’s tactical crew, Senior Constables Al Grant (left) and Barry Gallagher, to view damage from the air.
Photo: Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Ten-One
Photo: Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Ten-One
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