New research has shown social media is taking over the support role of churches.
Canterbury University staff have looked into the role Facebook and Twitter played after the earthquakes.
Senior lecturer Ekant Veer says social media proved to be a vital way to keep in touch with others, getting messages out and obtaining vital information.
"They were unable to get to places because transport links were down, or because the places they would normally meet up, like church or community halls, were actually the ones that were most badly damaged. So they felt quite isolated from the outside world and so a lot of people were turning to social media."
Mr Veer says smartphones meant social media sites were easy for some people to access when phone and electricity services were cut.