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The Canterbury Disaster Salvage Team is a voluntary group of professional people from the Christchurch, New Zealand area who work in the cultural and heritage sector. It was founded in 1987. Most team members represent their institutions and are able to participate in the Team due to the goodwill of their employer.

Collectively the Team has significant experience in responding to disasters and has developed assessment and response systems that have proved extremely helpful to institutions.

Guiding philosophy

Being well prepared for disasters is a critical factor in coping successfully with the salvage of cultural and heritage material.


To provide training and advice to those in the Canterbury region who are responsible for the care and maintenance of heritage collections.


1. educate staff working in cultural or heritage institutions about the need for disaster planning,

2. disseminate information about resources available for disaster planning and response,

3. provide training for those responsible for the care and maintenance of collections so that they are able to respond quickly and effectively in a disaster situation.


To achieve these objectives the Team is involved in the following activities:

1. responding when required to emergencies in cultural institutions,

2. producing a bi annual newsletter,

3. running an annual workshop on an aspect of disaster preparedness,

4. holding regular meetings to plan and co-ordinate activities.


The Wellington branch of The New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Material (NZCCM) has donated a variety of salvage equipment (including a generator and large dehumidifier) to the Canterbury Disaster Salvage Team. This equipment is housed in the Christchurch Art Gallery and is available for use by Christchurch institutions during salvage operations for a small fee. Unfortunately it is not possible to transport this equipment beyond Christchurch.





For a quick reference and disaster plan templates use the following links.

fire FIRE
flood FLOOD
earthquake EARTHQUAKE
pest PEST
mould MOULD


disaster plan

The CDST has compiled a selection of examples of Disaster Plans and Plan templates




latest workshop

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Find out where, when and what the latest workshops have to offer...