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Many heritage buildings were given red stickers after inspections.

While the initial quake only lasted for approximately 10 seconds, the damage was severe because of the location and shallowness of the earthquake's focus in relation to Christchurch as well as previous quake damage.115 people died in the building, which housed a TV station, a medical clinic and an English language school.The earthquake destroyed the Christ Church Cathedral's spire and part of its tower, and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building.As of January 2015 the judgements have mostly been in favour of the Church, with one more judgement pending.No demolition has occurred since the removal of the tower in early 2012.At the Tasman Glacier some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the epicentre, around 30 million tonnes (33 million ST) of ice tumbled off the glacier into Tasman Lake, hitting tour boats with tsunami waves 3.5 metres (11 ft) high.

The Tranz Alpine was cancelled until 4 March, to allow for personnel resources to be transferred to repairing track and related infrastructure, and moving essential freight into Christchurch, while the Tranz Coastal has been cancelled until mid-August.

Kiwi Rail also delayed 14 March departure of its Interislander ferry Aratere to Singapore for a 30-metre (98 ft) extension and refit prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

With extra passenger and freight movements over Cook Strait following the earthquake, the company would have been unable to cope with just two ships operating on a reduced schedule so soon after the earthquake, so pushed back the departure to the end of April.

In each of these cases the buildings that collapsed were known to have been appreciably damaged in the September 2010 earthquake but the local authority had permitted the building to be re-occupied (CTV and PGC buildings) or protective barriers adjacent to them moved closer to areas at risk of falling debris (Colombo Street).

/ On 28 February 2011, the Prime Minister announced that there would be an inquiry into the collapse of buildings that had been signed off as safe after the 4 September 2010 earthquake, "to provide answers to people about why so many people lost their lives." Of the 3,000 buildings inspected within the four avenues of the central city by 3 March 2011, 45% had been given red or yellow stickers to restrict access because of the safety problems.

The second civic office building of Christchurch City Council, Our City had already been damaged in the September earthquake and was heavily braced following the February event.