Some Christians have wondered so. There are some grounds for that: God hates evil, God is on record (in biblical times) as punishing people and nations, there is much about New Zealand society that must be ethically and spiritually offensive to God, God has every right to punish, and one way or another we all deserve God’s chastening.
Most Christians would hesitate, though, to name specific natural disasters as God’s punishment. Can we be certain we definitely know God’s mind in this?
Biblically, natural disasters and human suffering in general are part of our fallen, sin-marred, groaning world (Romans 8:22). Human sinfulness has made a mess of God’s good creation, and continues to do so. Much suffering is also linked to ongoing human wrongdoing (our own, or that of others). And suffering happens to both believers and unbelievers.
Christians look forward to God’s justice one day being fully established, on the Day of Judgement, and in the new heaven and earth. In the meantime, it appears God in his mercy stays his hand, and all over the world much individual and societal sin remains unpunished for now.
Unquestionably, human suffering can provoke people to review their lives, and sometimes to reach out to God. This remains a great time for Christians to be praying for others around us, and for our society, and to be reaching out with Jesus’ love and grace.