Mothers as active contributors to post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch


  • Angelina Terese Jennings Massey university
  • Nicky Stanley-Clarke Massey University
  • Polly Yeung Massey University



Mothers, Disaster recovery, Christchurch earthquakes, Resilience


INTRODUCTION: An understanding of mothers as a subset of women who are active contributors to a recovery effort is crucial to building disaster resilience. This study explored the post-disaster experiences of mothers from the two Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 to consider factors which both helped and hindered their recovery.

METHOD: This research was a qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with six married mothers who were present during the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Interviews focused on understanding the personal, environmental and psychological impacts of the earthquakes. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

FINDINGS: Three key findings were established, highlighting: 1) Elements of resilience are essential for recovery; 2) mothers playing a constructive and proactive role in their community post-disaster; and 3) the importance of a sense of belonging to enhance post-disaster recovery.

CONCLUSION: While participants were affected practically and psychologically by the earthquakes, core characteristics of resilience such as positivity, hope, flexibility and adaptability were portrayed in supporting their post-disaster recovery. These mothers played an active role in the recovery of their community and felt a clear sense of belonging which enhanced their recovery.

Author Biographies

Angelina Terese Jennings, Massey university

Clinical Team Leader of Primary Mental Health Team at Pegasus Health Christchurch. MSW

Nicky Stanley-Clarke, Massey University

School of Social Work Senior Lecturer PHD

Polly Yeung, Massey University

School of Social Work PHD


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How to Cite

Jennings, A. T., Stanley-Clarke, N., & Yeung, P. (2018). Mothers as active contributors to post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 30(3), 19–30.



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