The damage caused by the 7.8-magnitude November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake to the Main North Line railway and SH1 along the east coast of the South Island was unprecedented in New Zealand. The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance was set-up to restore the road and rail networks.
Just after midnight on 14 November 2016, most of central New Zealand woke following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck about 60km south west of the coastal town of Kaikōura in the South Island.
The 2016 earthquake generated the strongest ground acceleration ever recorded in New Zealand and caused widespread damage closing both State Highway 1 (SH1) and the Main North Line railway between Picton and Christchurch.
With close to a million cubic metres of rock and material falling onto the coastal transport corridor, Kaikōura and the surrounding rural communities were isolated – all roads and the rail network in and out of the area were damaged and closed by the slips.
This major event disrupted the lives of many: homes were damaged, businesses were closed, farms left with damaged land and no access to markets for their goods, and communities devastated by the loss of trade from passing traffic and tourists.
Read our StoryMaps(external link) about the extraordinary work to reopen the transport corridor and then build back stronger and more resilient. Stories include feats of engineering, preserving the precious, and community stories.
This is ‘our Kaikōura story’ about the work to reopen the harbour, rail and road – and then improve the transport networks to make them safer and more resilient for the future.
The archaeology work undertaken by the NCTIR Alliance in Kaikōura was the first regional scale heritage-oriented project in New Zealand.
Snapshot of some of the project statistics.
The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) was set up by the government late December 2016 to restore the earthquake damaged infrastructure between Picton and Christchurch.
NCTIR is an alliance partnership between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Downer, Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction and Higgins.Close
It was a massive undertaking. The earthquake generated the strongest ground acceleration ever recorded in New Zealand, with widespread damage throughout the Hurunui, Marlborough and Kaikōura districts. The scale and complexity of the damage to State Highway 1, the Main North Line railway and the Kaikōura marina was unprecedented.
GNS Science media release: Strongest ground shaking in New Zealand(external link) – 10 April 2017
The work by NCTIR included reopening the road, rail and harbour but also involves repairing and rebuilding the transport networks to be safer and more resilient, helping keep everyone better connected in the future.
Find out more about the challenge hereClose
Nearly 9,000 people from 350 organisations from across New Zealand and around the world have helped to restore and improve the transport corridor along the Kaikōura coastline.Close