Manomita Das

School of Psychology
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Enhancing disaster communications for collective actions

Research Description
Aotearoa NZ is vulnerable to multiple natural hazards like tsunamis, earthquake, floods etc. The damages caused by these hazards can be largely reduced if the ‘at-risk’ community is involved and empowered to prepare for and mitigate the hazard risks. As hazards are generally community wide problems, most often, they cannot be reduced by individual initiatives alone and require community members to come together as a collective to address it. To involve community members in disaster preparedness and mitigation, crisis/disaster management professionals use various forms of communication. While there exists research on how communication can be used to encourage individual initiatives to reduce hazard risks, we need further knowledge on the use of communication to encourage community members to come together as collectives to jointly address hazard risks. My research explores this question. By studying existing preparedness and mitigation collectives in Aotearoa NZ, I am trying to understand what motivates people to come together as collectives, what facilitates the formation and sustenance of collectives and how disaster risk communication can be applied to encourage and involve community members to participate in such collectives. The findings of the study will inform disaster risk communication practice and advance risk communication research on disasters.

Personal Description
I completed my B.Tech in Computer Science from West Bengal University of Technology and pursued my Masters in Disaster Management from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. After completing my Masters, I worked for around five years as a disaster researcher in different organizations. My areas of work focused on disaster communications, early warning systems and disaster risk reduction. My passion for the subject, particularly disaster risk communication, motivated me to take up my PhD research at the Joint Center for Disaster Research at Massey.

Associate Professor Julia Becker
Associate Professor Emma Hudson-Doyle
Dr Sara McBride