In November 2017, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Kaikoura in the upper South Island of New Zealand. It caused major damage in the region and in the lower North Island, with damage to infrastructure and residential areas costing billions of dollars.
Small regional towns such as Kaikoura, Culverden, Waiau, and Seddon were either stopped in their tracks or cut off all together. Airports were closed; railway lines snapped like match sticks; and large sections of major state highways and roads were wiped off the map.
Farmers woke up to find their farms had changed in shape – with whole hillsides gone.
The region went into recovery mode and with the focus on getting essential services up and running, quick and effective solutions for accommodation, reinforcement, storage and refrigeration were also needed. That’s where Royal Wolf’s range of shipping containers came in.
Royal Wolf’s involvement in the recovery operation following both Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 meant it knew what container products were useful and effective following a natural disaster of this kind.
In Christchurch, it supplied containers for everything from holding up buildings such as the Christchurch Basillica, through to providing emergency accommodation for the Fire Service.
Following the November quake in Kaikoura, Royal Wolf deployed containers to a diverse range of agencies, including emergency services and companies working on damaged infrastructure and buildings.
The army needed refrigeration container units, which it transported to various parts of the region that were in need.
Earthquake recovery contractors and subcontractors took delivery of worksite office containers, lunch rooms and a variety of other 20 foot containers as they went about essential repair and rebuild work.
Even Royal Wolf’s older container stock was put to good use with large numbers of damaged and bent containers used as road side barriers to protect highways and rural roads from further falling debris.
The wine industry in Marlborough was also hit badly by the earthquake as it was approaching its busy harvest season.
Normally the wineries rely on local accommodation for seasonal staff to stay in however with the amount of damage to houses and lodgings Royal Wolf’s accommodation containers were used as an alternative solution.
Being able to deploy a variety of containers for a wide range of solutions quickly and efficiently meant Royal Wolf was able to play its part in helping rescue agencies and contractors get the earthquake recovery on track quickly.
Initially Royal Wolf’s part in the response was a safety initiative to help protect members of the public in the wake of the earthquake. However, it quickly developed into a diverse and large scale operation with Royal Wolf supplying its product for everything from portable offices through to large and small scale accommodation facilities.
The recovery has been a long journey – and it is ongoing. The first signs of normality came in early 2017 as the first refrigerated containers started to return to the Royal Wolf depots in Christchurch and Nelson as the most badly affected towns became fully operational again.
Many containers are still being used across the region, and similar to the way Royal Wolf maintained an ongoing commitment to Canterbury’s earthquake rebuild, these containers will remain in the community until they are no longer needed.