Wellington Resilience Workshop

Wrapping up which proved to be quite a busy week, on the Friday following the National Emergency Management Conference, JCDR staff, again, in collaboration with QuakeCoRE hosted its second workshop. The topic this time looked at ‘Wellington Resilience’ and was split into two sessions, a morning and an afternoon.

The morning session was jointly hosted with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and looked at the topic of ‘Cultural Resilience.’ There is a growing awareness of the wider contribution culture (and cultural heritage) play in a society’s resilience. In particular, the way in which cultural beliefs and values help people understand risk and manage change in the face of challenges from natural events. This workshop explored the importance of cultural resilience to New Zealand, and reflect on how culture might be better included in disaster planning and preparedness.

As this was the very first iteration of community engagement in this topic the organisers used round table discussions to generate key ideas to a number of questions. The groups explored a number of themes such as the significance of cultural life to building communities, the importance of mātauranga Māori and marae, the role of culture in communicating disaster risk reduction, the importance of cultural sites in times of emergency, and the contribution of cultural life (the arts, restoration of heritage, sports and recreation) in recovery after a disaster.

This session would not have been made possible without the support from three key presentations by Helen McCracken from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Robyn Cockburn from Victoria University and Joe McLeod from Te Piringa o Te Awa Kairangi. The organisers would like to acknowledge all of these individuals for the great knowledge they were able to impart on those in attendance. Many of their discussion points enhanced both lines and topics of conversation.

After lunch attendees embarked on an afternoon session which looked at ‘Community-based Resilience.’ Though the session was jointly hosted by the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO), it also drew on input from number of other CDEM groups from around the country. This included Christchurch, Southland, Auckland and the Hawkes Bay.

Each group representative presented in an interesting Pecha Kucha style format on the work they are doing in their region around community resilience. This was followed by a number of audience participatory activities. By doing this the organisers were able to hear directly from people in and around the community on a number of key questions.

The ideas generated by attendees was noted as very beneficial for organisers, and also collectively fed into a large piece of artwork that was completed during the event by the League of Live Illustrators. This included generating solutions for critical problems, such as creating a platform of sharing and collaboration and the idea of setting realistic expectations to combat issues with resourcing, and enabling more voices to be heard and ensuring messaging uses consistent and simplified terminology as a way of removing barriers. Another piece of information that was consistent throughout the day was the need for more direct links between CDEM and communities.

Interactivity was a key focus of both sessions which proved to be a great way on generating a range of perspectives, as well as a fantastic opportunity for attendees to meet others from a range of organisations and sectors. Feedback from those in attendance thought the day was a rounding success given its makeup being unusually split between two significant but different strands of resilience.