Māori networks and the Otautahi earthquakes: their role and future prospects

Project purpose: This research project aims to promote and deepen New Zealand’s understanding of Māori and their culture by ensuring that the stories and voices of Māori affected by the Canterbury earthquakes are heard, respected, valued and incorporated into relevant learning and planning environments. We know that the scale of damage from the recent and ongoing earthquakes centred in and around Otautahi have challenged all networks in the city at a time when many individuals and communities were already under severe economic pressure. In such times of great pressure, Māori have historically drawn on traditional institutions such as whānau, marae, hapū and iwi for support. What has worked and what has failed are fundamental questions as other communities (Māori and non-Māori) will likely suffer similarly disastrous events in the future.

One of the project’s key aims is to draft response plans at all levels from individual to whānau, neighbourhood, marae and iwi for what are both unique but ultimately recurring events. To that end this research project aims to describe and analyse the effects of the recent earthquakes on Māori resilience in the Canterbury region. The project is largely literature and computer based but there will be an opportunity to participate in field work consisting of interviews and surveys. The candidate can expect to spend 3.5 days doing desk-based research and reviews and 1.5 days in the field interviewing and/or gathering information directly from the Māori community. The candidate will contribute to a team carrying out novel research on natural disasters, specifically those that occur in urban areas and their affects on indigenous peoples and their communities. They will learn aspects of managing and analysing large amounts of information, develop their networking and management skills while also improving presentation and publication skills. The candidate will need some knowledge and/or experience working with Māori and in Māori communities. They must enjoy using computers and interview methods and transcribing experience are desirable but not necessary.

The programme of work to be carried out

  • Literature review (with emphasis on urban disasters)
  • Analysis of documentary material provided to Māori post-September 4th, 2010
  • Assisting in identifying and interviewing key informants
  • Collaborating on presentations and publications with colleagues.

Day to day nature of the work: 3.5 days desk top research, 1.5 days fieldwork (interviewing) per week.

Skills the student will learn

  1. Critical analysis of wide range of literature, including archival and documentary material
  2. Interviewing  
  3. Presentation and publication skills.