Natural ecosystems have many buffers that ameliorate the effects of disturbances. High species diversity, robust food web linkages, and redundancies of functions such as primary production and provision of seafood, are intimately linked. They are also bound to the physical elements of the environment to which they are adapted. When cataclysmic disturbances occur, such as the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, many of these linkages are broken, the usual buffers to change are greatly affected, and 'recovery' is unlikely to be a return to the pre-disturbance state.
This article briefly describes the state of recovery along the Kaikoura coast, three and a half years later.