Organisational resilience following the Darfield earthquake of 2010

Zachary Whitman, Joanne Stevenson, Hlekiwe Kachali, Erica Seville, John Vargo, Thomas Wilson, 2014

Disasters, 38: 148–177. DOI: 10.1111/disa.12036


This paper presents the preliminary findings of a study on the resilience and recovery of organisations
following the Darfield earthquake in New Zealand on 4 September 2010. Sampling included organisations
proximal and distal to the fault trace, organisations located within central business districts, and organisations
from seven diverse industry sectors. The research captured information on the challenges to, the impacts on,
and the reflections of the organisations in the first months of recovery. Organisations in central business
districts and in the hospitality sector were most likely to close while organisations that had perishable stock
and livestock were more heavily reliant on critical services. Staff well-being, cash flow, and customer loss
were major concerns for organisations across all sectors. For all organisations, the most helpful factors in
mitigating the effects of the earthquake to be their relationship with staff, the design and type of buildings, and
critical service continuity or swift reinstatement of services.

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