The Emergency Operating Centre was set up in the Christchurch Art Gallery and operated from there for seven months.
Emergency services and the military from all over New Zealand were quickly assembled and arrived to help with both people and equipment. Police and Search and Rescue teams also arrived quickly from Australia, with other international Search and Rescue teams including Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Taiwan arriving not long after. Latimer Square became the temporary home for the search and rescue teams.
In addition to search and rescue, those that arrived in Christchurch provided medical assistance, carried out damage assessments, stabilised or demolished precarious property, provided security and delivered food and water.
Essential services in several areas were so badly damaged that repairs took weeks. Eventually portaloos and chemical toilets were delivered in neighbourhoods that needed them and a desalination plant was set up in New Brighton by army engineers. This could produce 2000 litres of fresh water an hour. Badly hit areas were warned that it could be weeks before power could be restored.