We've been researching the impacts of the 2010-11 earthquakes on Maori in Christchurch since May of 2011.
As well as recording the terrifying and uplifting experiences of over 80 individuals including Maori first responders, parents, teachers, and tangata whaiora (mental health clients), we have accumulated raw data on self-reported wellbeing pre- and post-disaster.
The research has been presented a couple of times now and is to be published in November in a special Issue of the MAI Review which will be launched at this years Nga Pae's International Indigenous Conference.
Our results show that Maori resilience is neither automatic or improving, with supporting evidence from the third wave of CERA's Wellbeing Survey. which show an increase in the proportion of Maori less likely to view post-disaster life positively...
While various definitions are held, there seems to be a reluctance to question the assumption that we are resilient by definition, as Indigenous Peoples.
I see two poles about which we swing. The first accepts resilience is like gravity: always there, unshakable, a 'given' in the universe.
The second pole argues that resilience is like democracy, a dynamic configuration of people and institutions with individual and collective actions never quite perfecting things but committed to a process through which empowerment is at least possible.
I argue for the second. And like democracy everywhere, resilience is a fragile thing, balanced on a knife-edge, easily lost and hard to regather.