Community Resilience/Hapori tukaha


Almost before the shaking had stopped, non-profits across greater Christchurch were reaching out to their communities and were an integral part of the response and recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes.  SEWN has made it our job to ensure that this contribution is recognised.

We collected the stories of just a few of the many groups and shared them in our book “Holding Hope Together”.  A few copies of the book are still available from the SEWN office, cost is $10 plus GST and postage.To purchase please contact us on 

Climate change and other world events are exposing our communities to increased shocks and stresses, and the non-profit sector is a vital part of building community resilience.  However the significant role of the sector in risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery (especially for marginalised or vulnerable communities and people) has not been fully recognised in civil defence planning.  We’re working to address this.

Download our  report on our visit to Melbourne Not Just High Vis and Hard Hats  to learn about non-profit sector involvement in emergency management there, and an analysis of the role for the sector here in Aotearoa.


We made sure that the Greater Christchurch Resilience Plan  ( took account of the contribution of non-profit groups and organisations.

There are some great reports and blogs about the non-profit sector, social wellbeing and emergency management from our colleagues at VCOSS in Australia at

Our region’s current CDEM Plan is here.  (

Want to know more?  Contact Sharon on


Earthquake  experiences  of  visually  impaired  documented

Massey University Press release Jan 2017

Recent earthquakes in the lower North and upper South Islands have been a stark reminder of the challenges residents confronted during the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/2011.

Visually impaired residents faced further challenges that have now been documented by Massey University’s Dr Gretchen Good and Dr Suzanne Phibbs of the College of Health in research which explores the experiences of 12 visually impaired residents who lived through more than 12,000 aftershocks.

The study, Disorientated and Immobile: The Experience of People with Visual Impairments During and After the Christchurch, New Zealand 2010 and 2011 Earthquakes, was recently published in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. It involved 12 face-to-face interviews conducted after the September 2010 quake, but prior to the fatal 2011 February quake. Then, in February 2012, seven of the original participants were re-interviewed about how more than a year of earthquakes had affected their lives. Three staff members from the Blind Foundation were also interviewed in April 2011. The paper was co-authored by Dr Good and Dr Phibbs, along with Kerry Williamson, a research assistant from the Ministry of Justice.

Dr Phibbs says the research, a first of its kind in the world, highlighted the importance of communication and technology, personal and agency support, orientation and mobility, health, rebuilding independence, rehabilitation, coping and resilience.

Full article HERE


This just-released report from Victoria COSS highlights the current and potential contribution that the non-profit sector makes to civil defence and emergency management.

Building resilient communities: Working with the community sector for enhanced emergency management

Governments should begin harnessing the power of community organisations in disaster planning, according to a new report from the Victorian Council of Social Service.

The emergency management sector is increasingly looking to foster community resilience as a way of helping communities prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters and emergency events.

Building resilience has been the core focus of the community sector for decades – community organisations are embedded in their local communities, build and maintain social connections and networks, and develop the strengths of people and families, all of which contribute to resilience. And they are ready to do more.

VCOSS’ new report, Building resilient communities: Working with the community sector for enhanced emergency management, outlines how leveraging the resources, knowledge and skills of community organisations can significantly enhance Victorian communities’ resilience to emergencies and disasters.