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Canterbury social housing programme book launched

Media Statement
September 15, 2016

New book celebrates Christchurch’s social housing legacy

A new book, detailing how Housing New Zealand responded to the devastation caused by the Canterbury earthquakes was officially launched this afternoon.

“Creating A Legacy of Social Housing’’ tells the story of how the organisation responded to the aftermath of the earthquakes, the formation of its Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Programme (CERP) and the impacts the earthquakes had on its properties, thousands of tenants and its own staff.

Written by well-known Christchurch author Vivienne Allan, who managed communications for CERP in its first three years, the book reveals what happened behind the scenes as Housing New Zealand structured itself to respond to the damage and chaos caused by the earthquakes.

Past and present staff were interviewed so the true story of the programme could be told.

CERP Acting General Manager Andrew Booker says the book is an important permanent record that explains how the CERP team, supported by many other Housing New Zealand staff from around the country, achieved its vision to create a legacy of social housing in Canterbury.

The scale of Housing New Zealand’s earthquake recovery work in Canterbury was unprecedented and, as such, involved hundreds of people, a massive logistical exercise to meet the ongoing needs of tenants while undertaking repairs to more than 5000 damaged house and the construction of up to 700 new homes.

“This book tells the story of how our staff embarked on a programme of work never done before in an environment no-one had ever experienced.’’

“When I look back on what was done, especially in those early months, it is a quite remarkable achievement and I’m thrilled we’ve been able to tell this really important story in this way.’’

Housing New Zealand Board Chair Adrienne Young-Cooper, who wrote the book’s foreword, says the earthquake recovery work had been a long and extremely challenging programme but one that had impressively delivered on its goals.

“This book is a success story and it is also a reminder to us all of what happened during the dark days and how remarkably our staff rose to the occasion.’’

Housing New Zealand could have “universal pride’’ in the outcome of the programme’s work, she says.

The CERP team ended its formal role on July 1 and moved its work into a “business as usual’’ footing within Housing New Zealand’s Asset Development Group.

The locally based team will continue Housing New Zealand’s ongoing plans to build more than 100 new homes in the city annually.


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