Temporal drivers of disaster risk and resilience in rural New Zealand. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineDisaster Risk and Resilience
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsFraser, Beccashow all
Aotearoa-New Zealand’s rural communities are an essential part of the nation’s economy, society and culture. They face challenges to their resilience including impacts of hazards like drought and earthquakes, alongside the compounding impacts of social, cultural and economic change. Significant, temporal change to rural communities impacts their resilience to future disruption, however more research is needed to understand the drivers of changing disaster resilience in these communities. These gaps could lead to issues in future policy, rural development and disaster risk management and contribute to an information poor decision making environment.
The aim of this research is to draw together a cohesive summary that investigates the drivers and outcomes of rural disaster risk and resilience over multiple dimensions in the rural sector. This involves addressing the following objectives; Identify temporal drivers of change in rural communities, identify available data that can be used to characterize these drivers, and evaluate the impacts of a dynamic, changing rural environment on rural disaster resilience. To achieve these objectives, a review of rural literature, and New Zealand data was undertaken to gather rural indicator datasets. These indicators were visualised, primarily using geospatial analysis. The results are discussed through the lens of the Treasury Living Standards Framework, to quantify the potential impacts of this change on disaster resilience.
The methodological findings of this thesis reveal that the availability and quality of data for rural decision makers is challenged by the nature of rural research and data collection in New Zealand. Additionally, available data does not currently reflect the true nature of New Zealand rural communities. The findings of this research reveal that rural communities in New Zealand have undergone significant change in the past 50 years. Key changes such as demographic shifts, land use change, and long term, multi-dimensional impacts from service rationalisation, such as the closure of schools and medical centres have impacted the disaster resilience of New Zealand’s rural communities. The findings of this research provide lessons for exploring future rural disaster resilience and outline the need to develop more effective systems for utilising, collecting and analysing research data, alongside addressing the changing nature of rural New Zealand to improve future rural policy and disaster decision making.