Skip to page content
Home / Exhibitions + Events

Beyond the Cordon

24 March - 14 May 2017

Free entry

The 22 February 2011 Canterbury earthquake triggered the largest emergency response operation ever seen in New Zealand. The task of visually documenting the rescue and victim recovery operation in the weeks following the earthquake fell inadvertently to New Zealand Police photographers. The 23 photographers took every possible opportunity to record what they saw around them, including aspects of the operation that would rarely be documented, such as victim recovery and mortuary operations.

The photographers faced hostile conditions: smouldering rubble burnt through their boots, shards of concrete went flying as diggers cleared sites, and there was always the threat of aftershocks as they perched precariously on collapsed buildings. As an integral part of the recovery operation, Police photographers were the only photographers with long-term access to the central city throughout the following weeks.

Education programmes are available for this exhibition.

Image: Poplar Lane, Monday 28 February 2011, 9.56am, New Zealand Police photographers.