Frequently asked questions

Victims and missing people

Why is it taking so long to name those who have died?

Formal identification is a complex process. There is a legal requirement for police to complete this work to standards set by the Coroner. Disaster victim identification process.

How can I find out who has died?
Police list of confirmed deceased.

How can I find out if someone is missing or alive?
Police's priority is on working with families of missing and deceased individuals.  There is no authorised list of missing persons that is publicly available and we would ask for the cooperation of the public not to put pressure on police stations or the Red Cross 0800 line with inquiries if you are not a direct family member. The Google Person Finder is a useful resource for people other than next of kin seeking information on possible missing people.
Check the Google Person Finder.

How do I report a missing person?
Call the Red Cross line:
P 0800 733 276 (within New Zealand)
P +64 7 850 2199 (international)

How do I advise I/my friend/relative has been located?
Call the Red Cross line:
P 0800 733 276 (within New Zealand)
P +64 7 850 2199 (international)
Check the Google Person Finder.

Cordons and access

How do I get into the cordoned area of the CBD?

Cordons have been established to prevent access into the high risk central city area. They are staffed by Police and Defence Force personnel. Anyone found in a restricted area without lawful excuse faces arrest.

For cordon restrictions, see the website of Civil Defence.

When will the cordon be lifted?

A process for accessing the cordon area and retrieving personal belongings will be put in place soon. Public will be advised when this will occur. 

How do I retrieve my vehicle from inside the cordon?

Please see press release: Recovery of vehicles begins from Christchurch CBD.

More information:

Government helpline
P 0800 779 997

Crime and policing

What happens to normal police business?

Normal policing is continuing and Christchurch is well staffed for responding to reports of crimes. Please report crime in the usual ways and call 111 in case of emergency. If you are unsure, call 111 anyway; Police will decide whether it needs an immediate response.

Don't hesitate to call your local police station or approach police officers patrolling Christchurch suburbs.
For more information see how to contact Police.

How else are Police helping Christchurch people?

Extra police staff have flown in from around the world to help with search and rescue, victim identification and patrols. Around 300 Australian police officers have teamed up with New Zealand officers to patrol the CBD and Christchurch suburbs.

What crime might occur as a result of the earthquake?

Most people are going out of their way to help wherever they can.
However, please be aware of:

Bogus officials going door to door.

Family violence - even extreme stress is not an excuse for hurting members of your family and incidents will be treated very seriously by Police.

Burglaries - if you evacuate your house, leave it as secure as possible. 

Online scams - Consumer Protection, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)'s Scamwatch website has advice about fake emails and websites.


What can I do to help?

Prioritise looking after yourself, your family and your neighbours.

Keep an eye on people who are alone or elderly.

Report suspicious activity around vacated homes by calling 111.

Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

To volunteer help please see Student Volunteer Army or Trade Me.

How can I get help?

Call the government helpline, 0800 779 997 or email

Useful websites

Civil Defence - updates, essential contacts, donation lines, information on local services