Women's Voices: Findings solace out of disaster
War and natural disasters share many features including great loss of life, traumatised populations and haunting memories. The Christchurch earthquakes were the third most costly event of 2011 with total costs of up to $NZ30 billion. Many homes, communities, families and an established way of life have gone for ever. The paper comes from the Women’s Voices project that documents women’s narratives of earthquake trauma and loss and examines their profiles of emotional expression associated with coping. For these women in Christchurch, solace is not about talking experiences of suffering but by doing practical things that inform and are shaped by existing personal narratives. As they relayed this common arc, they also entered into national (and gendered) narrative themes of being practical, stoic, independent and resourceful in the face of tragedy and loss and so embody communal aspects of coping with loss and grief particular to the New Zealand even ‘the South Island settler’ identity narrative. These narratives suggest it useful to rethink key concepts that inform our understanding of coping with disaster and loss.