PlaceMakers: responding to the Canterbury earthquake

After the Christchurch earthquake hit in February 2011, there was a widespread and immediate need for the basics: food, water, toilets, shelter.

As part of their involvement, PlaceMakers developed a ‘rapid response community shelter’ prototype – kitset cabins to provide secure, warm and dry shelter… immediately.

SenateSHJ provided PlaceMakers with a strategy to raise awareness of the cabins to the general public and to government agencies involved in the response.

Our recommendation was to set the scene by demonstrating ‘skin in the game’ by donating cabins to Christchurch city. The PlaceMakers CEO gifted 20 cabins to Mayor Bob Parker to distribute where the need was greatest. The media sell-in was hard and fast to match the speed of activity in the city. We told the story in three parts: announcement, construction and delivery.

We helped build a positive reputation for PlaceMakers, accurately reflecting the company's genuine desire to help, as opposed to being seen as opportunistic.