The scale of damage from the recent earthquakes in Christchurch/Ōtautahi in Aotearoa/New Zealand challenges all networks in the city at a time when many individuals and communities are under severe economic pressure. Māori – the Indigenous people of New Zealand – have historically drawn on traditional institutions such as whānau (family), marae (community meeting places), hapū (subtribe), and iwi (tribe) in their endurance of past crises. Our research examines Maori-centric networks in supporting both Maori and non-Maori in the aftermath of massive urban dislocation. Knowing what has worked and what has failed – and why – are fundamental questions in the enhancement of disaster resilience for future Maori society.
A flood of research will undoubtedly follow the earthquakes, most of which will undoubtedly relate to engineering, geology, and seismology. Lincoln University has a unique confluence of researchers that enables a trans-disciplinary approach incorporating economic geography, community development, geology and eco-toxicology. Four individual Maori researchers are engaged in some way on the project. They are:
- Dr. Simon Lambert (Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani), economic geography, planning and development (Project Leader)
- Melanie Shadbolt (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa) community development, sociology (Researcher)
- Dr. Jamie Ataria (Rongomaiwahine), eco-toxicology (Technical advisor).
- Dr. Amanda Black (Tūhoe), geology (Technical advisor).
A broad approach is needed to account for how people have been affected by the earthquakes, and how and why they respond as they do. The project will draw on the team’s respective skills to gather and interpret both qualitative data (narrating the personal, professional, and institutional experiences of key actors in responding to the earthquakes) and quantitative data (describing the geo/eco contexts of affected Māori communities). Three disciplines provide the intellectual foundations of this project: economic geography (Dr. Lambert) and community development (Melanie Shadbolt); and two dimensions of environmental hazards: geological (Dr. Black) and eco-toxicological (Dr. Ataria).
More explicitly, we will:
1. Investigate the economic and cultural resilience of Maori communities;
2. Review disaster response and recovery information disseminated to Māori, including those from local authorities, government, emergency services, the police and army;
3. Review scientific reports on the geological and eco-toxicological dimensions of how the earthquakes affected Māori communities.