The Inangahua earthquake : an application of the Powell and Rayner model of disaster-time
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This study is a contribution to research within the sociology of disasters. The material is presented in two inter-related parts. The first four chapters provide an introduction and a background to disaster research from a sociological perspective. This portion of the study also provides the framework - Powell and Rayner's (1952) model of Disaster Time - upon which a specific disaster will be considered. The disaster which this research focusses upon is introduced in the fifth chapter, that is, the May 24, 1968 Richter 7 magnitude earthquake centred 15 kilometres north of the township of Inangahua in the South Island of New Zealand. Briefly, the contents of the study are: Chapter I introduces definitions and discussions of Natural Hazards, Natural Disaster, and Collective Stress Situations. Chapter II is devoted to a discussion of one of the most formidable natural hazard agents - earthquakes. This discussion of earthquakes is directed primarily on the New Zealand situation. The orientation of Chapter III is (a) to provide a discussion of the sociological perspectives as they apply to disaster research; (b) to introduce a discussion of the variables that a researcher has to consider when analysing a disaster; (c) to present examples of sociological models of disaster time, and a model of disaster space, and, (d) to introduce the Powell and Rayner model of Disaster Time. Powell and Rayner in 1952 proposed a descriptive scheme for a disaster, based on a formulation in terms of developmental stages. They characterised each stage by its own integrative mechanisms, distinctive variables, and a set of unique tasks for each of the various actions of the affected social system. The stages developed by this model are: the Pre-Emergency Phase, which consists of a Pre-Warning stage; the Emergency States, comprising Warning, Threat, Impact, Inventory, Rescue and Remedy; and a Post-Emergency Phase, which they termed 'Recovery'. Chapter IV presents a discussion of the methods used in disaster research. This chapter also contains the methods used in the analysis of the 1968 Inangahua Earthquake, from which this study is a result. Chapter V begins with information about the Inangahua region - a short history of the Inangahua region; counter-measure agencies in the Inangahua area; an attempt to assess the 'West Coast character'; a brief discussion of earthquakes in the Inangahua area. Against this background, and within the framework of Powell and Rayner's model, the earthquake of 1968 is reviewed. The final Chapter (Chapter VI) entitled, 'Reflections on the Powell and Rayner model of Disaster Time', looks at problems applying the model; the limitations of the model; the strengths of the model; and the application of the model to earthquakes.