NZ will have to change the way it thinks about life. Most people tend to take life each day at a time. We can't afford to do that......at least not after one confronts the urgencies of the tragedy and trauma. The deaths and injuries in Christchurch to date were because we hold ideas in disdain for the 'practicalities' of the moment. People with ideas warned government officials that there were risks, and they were ignored. Never expect government officers to be champions for ideas. They are middlemen who deal in concrete matters because their lives are driven by perceptions, which tend to evolve around facts because that is all that most people consider.
We need to think conceptually, which means analytically, critically and long term. It is what distinguishes us from animals which function on the basis of mere correlation. Our capacity to appreciation or 'understand' causation is the capacity which allows us to see around corners. Japan only sparingly learned the lesson because of its far greater exposure to earthquakes. It shows that earthquakes are not particularly dangerous if we anticipate them, plan for them, and build for them. The buildings in Japan shake like trees and yet they preserve their structural integrity. Those buildings and the people who occupy them go about their lives knowing that they are safe in the knowledge of technological progress.
Japan suffered from the tsunami because of its compartmentalised thinking. It shows that people might live under the illusion that they are prepared, but its merely accepting the reassurances of 'short-range' government bureaucrats. Only one of the mayors in the NE of Honshu had made adequate provisions for tsunamis. His provisional construction efforts, which entailed building a number of concrete sea walls, spared the lives of his electorate. He is a rare thinker who challenged popular consensus. Such thinking is all too rare because it is not supported or affirmed by our political system. On the contrary, our political system advances perceptions or concrete facts as the basis for decision-making. I don't think you can fully comprehend the damage this has done to society, and what it will do to Western democracy in the future.
I will say more on this issue, but I will save it for forthcoming books.