Tomorrow, September 20th, 2014 marks the 4th anniversary of the establishment of CanCERN.

It all started with portaloos – we needed them, the council had them, but there was no way for those of us in broken communities to convince the authorities we knew better than they did about where they should go. There is something to be said for the fact that the worst affected residents have had issues from day one, struggling against stupid systems to deal with the s***.

A wise man, Harold Fleming, once said,

The wisdom of thportalooe community always exceeds the knowledge of the experts.

This is the basis with which CanCERN has always justified the role we play in the recovery. Residents who are struggling have a greater sense of the reality of post-quake life, which means their thoughts and opinions are vital. Obviously there are multiple realities depending on the way you are experiencing and viewing the recovery, but community wisdom is just as important as the expert-led view of what should be happening.

We have a couple of bottom lines that lead the work we do, the way we do it, and they are what we demand when working with recovery agencies. The wording may have changed slightly since September 20th, 2010, but the essence hasn’t changed at all.

  • Communication must be accessible, transparent, and prioritise the best interests of the stuck residents.
  • Best solutions come when engagement is designed and intentionally created with, by and for the people.

These bottom lines have stood us in good stead and allowed us to carve out a very real space for the voice of the stuck residents. We understand that it may not always feel like the resident’s voice has been considered, so we hope you can accept our assurances that the voice is there.

On behalf of CanCERN and stuck residents past and present, from the Waimak to Selwyn, we wish to extend our sincerest thanks once again to the inspirational leaders who founded CanCERN. Your vision and commitment created the best legacy of all – a voice for the residents.