Expert opinions on the New Zealand Resilience Index

The Trajectories Toolbox of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Kia manawaroa – Ngā Ākina o Te Ao Tūroa National Science Challenge (RNC-NSC) has been working on the development of the New Zealand Resilience Index (NZRI), which measures place-based community resilience. The index uses a multi-capital model, including indicators of resilience in the built and natural environment, social, cultural, governance, and economic domains. However, some indicators of resilience may contribute more to the measurement of resilience outcomes than others. To understand this, we conducted an expert weighting exercise, eliciting the views of resilience and disaster risk reduction academics and practitioners working in New Zealand.

Indicators relating to the built environment were ranked as the most important, with building safety and functionality following a disruption weighted most highly (11.7%). This was closely followed by network infrastructure resilience (11.5%). Indicators related to social and human capital were also rated relatively high, with levels of community networks and sense of belonging and personal resilience capacities of individuals contributing 11.3% and 10.5% respectively. Indicators in the cultural and natural environment spaces were deemed as contributing less to resilience outcomes than built and social indicators. Experts weighted the item heritage and culture are valued and preserved as contributing the least (4.7%), followed by community access to shelters and welfare (5.3%), and availability of natural buffers (6.2%).


Table 1. Indicators and indicator weights following the expert weighting exercise.


Capital Indicator Part-worth utility
Built Buildings safety and functionality following a disruption* 11.7%
Built Network infrastructure resilience (roads, electricity, water and waste water) 11.5%
Social Levels of community networks and sense of belonging 11.3%
Social Personal resilience capacities of individuals (e.g., education, physical and mental wellbeing) 10.5%
Gov. Health system response capacity 8.9%
Econ. Household capacity to cope with economic disruption 8.9%
Gov. Quality of legislation and plans addressing hazards 8.0%
DRR Household emergency preparedness 6.7%
Econ. Economic diversity (businesses from several different sectors) 6.4%
Natural Availability of natural buffers (e.g., green space, undeveloped flood plains) 6.2%
DRR Community access to shelters and welfare centres* 5.3%
Culture Heritage and culture are valued and preserved 4.7%
* indicator not currently included in the NZRI due to a lack of nationally consistent data

Perhaps one of the more interesting weightings was the comparatively low level of importance given to community access to shelters and welfare centres. However, this could be explained by the higher rating of buildings safety and functionality following a disruption as arguably shelters are less likely to be needed if buildings are safe and functional following an event. It is a reactive rather than a preventative contributor to resilience capacities. The weights of all indicators included in the expert weighting exercise are outlined fully in Table 1.

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