Preserving family and community: women's voices from the Christchurch earthquakes

Liz Gordon (Pukeko Research, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to highlight and report on women's work during and after the Christchurch earthquakes.


The paper reports findings of some of a large number of life history interviews conducted with Christchurch women in 2012.


Three specific sets of roles for women are identified, arising from the interviews that were undertaken. The first role is in keeping families together, meeting a range of diverse family needs and supporting all family members. The second role is in working with, and leading, post-quake services to offer disaster relief. Finally, a third role is in working in a range of ways to engage with and beautify communities and improve their lives.

Practical implications

Women's work is often unseen in the post-earthquake environment. But this lack of visibility should not imply that women are not active in earthquake recovery.


As far as the authors are aware, this is the first life history study of women undertaken to understand the impact of the earthquakes on their lives.



Gordon, L. (2013), "Preserving family and community: women's voices from the Christchurch earthquakes", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 415-424.

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