A recent Press article which I and others were interviewed for has revealed a certain dis-ease in the research arena when the article was mentioned in the recent 7th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference in Wellington.
Seems our work has been interpreted as a deliberate slur on Ngai Tahu.
Now I know who’s involved (’tis a small world after all…) and I submitted an abstract (not accepted, asked to present a poster which doesn’t justify the cost and time for me).
Pity we’re not asked in directly, but our work is increasingly out there for critique and debate. I’ve mentioned the latest article in a previous post, published in the Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, and another has just been accepted for the MAI Journal in a Special Issue on Indigenous Resilience (to be launched at this year’s Nga Pae conference).
For the record, I think the response was generally very good from all concerned, Maori katoa, Pakeha katoa, Tauiwi katoa. (Others don’t, and I have recorded their views in interviews and presented them to inform the debate).
What I am talking about now (three and a half years after the main event) is recovery, the fourth of the 4 R’s in disaster speak…
I interpret resilience as the ability of an individual or collective to absorb the shock of a disaster and then recover; to merely exist in a post-disaster landscape which is still a hell of an achievement is, for me, endurance.
Endurance will precede resilience but I do not yet see an bounce back in how Maori communities are living in Christchurch (And this position is reinforced by CERA’s ongoing ‘Wellbeing Survey‘, now into its fourth wave…
We are struggling as a society to address the concerns of, among others, Maori and I make no bones about it, I think this sucks and it doesn’t need to be this way.
One of the causal factors for me (and others, the Press article cited the very good Masters thesis by Hauauru Rae from Otago) is that the Crown and its agencies are increasingly focused on Iwi (via iwi authorities) as ‘taking care’ of Maori katoa or nga maata waka/taura here like myself who comprise the majority of Maori in Otautahi/Christchurch…
Yes there is a community forum for non-local Maori to be represented but this is too often peripheral in the power brokerage…the one thing a disaster does is strip away the smoke and mirrors. Too many people exist in a state of permanent emergency, a disaster merely ‘bring[s] to the surface the poverty which characterises the lives of so many inhabitants” (Hardoy and Satterthwaite 1989, p. 203).
Hard rain’s gonna fall…
We will continue our research and publish through the academic channels – that’s important – but we will also post and present at conferences and community meetings, and we will talk and laugh face-to-face, if we get the invite
Hardoy, J.E. and D. Satterthwaite (1989), Squatter Citizen: Life in the Urban Third World, Earthscan, London