Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission – Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha

Those who lost relatives and friends in the 22 February earthquake can be assured that there will be a very thorough inquiry into the failure of buildings that resulted in loss of life.
Chair, Justice Mark Cooper


1 July 2011

Royal Commission seeks public contributions

A notice outlining the issues being considered by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission and seeking expressions of interest from people wanting to make submissions will be published in newspapers throughout New Zealand from tomorrow, Saturday 2 July.

Justice Mark Cooper, Chair of the Royal Commission, says seeking input from interested people and organisations is a priority for the commissioners. “We know there is genuine interest from a wide range of people so we are now asking those people who want to be involved to let us know.”

Expressions of Interest need to be submitted by 22 July by using the online form on the Commission’s website (see submissions and hearings). Forms can also be downloaded from the website or requested through the freephone number 0800 337 468.

Justice Cooper says the issues that the Royal Commission is considering are outlined on the Commission’s website. “I strongly encourage anyone interested in providing a submission or information to look out for the public notices and access the more detailed information on our website.

“We have already been in contact with the families of those who died in the February earthquake. It is not necessary for these people to fill out an expression of interest form but they are welcome to do so if they want to,” says Justice Cooper.

“In the meantime, the Royal Commission is continuing its investigations and inquiries,” he says.

Media Contact
Tony Wallace
Senior Communications Advisor, The Department of Internal Affairs
Phone 027 440 2667 email:

Further Information:

Under the terms of reference the Royal Commission will consider the following issues:

1. Seismicity, which includes New Zealand’s geological setting, the seismological setting for NZ, conditions likely to result in liquefaction, and the nature and severity of the Canterbury earthquakes

2. Inquiry into buildings in the Christchurch Central Business District (CBD). The Royal Commission is required to establish a reasonably representative sample of buildings in the CBD.  This representative sample will include the Canterbury Television (or CTV) building, the Pyne Gould Corporation (or PGC) building, the Forsyth Barr building and The Hotel Grand Chancellor building, and a range of other buildings including all those that failed causing death.

The Royal Commission will also investigate why some buildings failed severely while others did not, the steps taken to assess the condition of buildings after the earthquakes, and the policies adopted in respect of earthquake-prone buildings

3. Legal and best practice requirements for the design, construction and maintenance of buildings in CBDs in New Zealand.

4. Change of New Zealand Design Standards/Codes of Practice over the past 75 years

5. Development of technical expertise in the deign and construction of seismic resistant buildings

6. Future measures for new and existing buildings, including the appropriate level of compliance of existing buildings with new building standards and considering any necessary changes to current design practice.

The Royal Commission operates independently of government but receives administrative assistance from the Department of Internal Affairs. Information about the Commission of Inquiry, including the full terms of reference, can be found at