Business recovery from disaster

A year-5 survey of organisational recovery from the Canterbury earthquake sequence.

Key findings


  • Recovery is a long process for many organisations – 40% of organisations were still recovering two years after impact.
  • Sector is a factor influencing short but not long-term recovery.
  • Demand changes were a key factor in the recovery trajectory of organisations. This indicates a need to review current business continuity processes to ensure that both demand and supply side impacts are appropriately planned for.


Organisations play a vital role in the recovery of communities following disaster events.  This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge examining the impacts on, and recovery trajectories of organisations following disruption.  A survey, conducted in 2016, examines recovery trajectories of 206 organisations impacted by the 2010-11 Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquake sequence.  The survey was the 5th in a series of surveys carried out by the authors following the earthquakes.

This sequence of earthquakes created many challenges for organisations with a wide range of disruption profiles.  Some organisations suffered significant damage and loss including stock and buildings, while others faced staff, customer and/or supplier disruption.

Data from this longitudinal data set gives a unique opportunity to examine the relative importance of different impacts, preparedness measures and post-event adaptation measures at different time points in recovery.

Project goals

  • To provide data to demonstrate the value of investment in organisational resilience;
  • To map the 5 year recovery trajectory of organisations;
  • To better understand the contextual factors that affect long term recovery.

Key contact

Tracy Hatton

Senior Research Consultant
p: 021 160 7707
e : [email protected]

Project team

Tracy Hatton, Senior Research Consultant, Resilient Organisations LtdTracy Hatton

Senior Research Consultant
Resilient Organisations Ltd

Charlotte Brown

Senior Research Consultant
Resilient Organisations Ltd

Erica Seville

Managing Director
Resilient Organisations Ltd

Our funders

We are grateful for our funders who support our research and have contributed to this project.