Is Queenstown a sanctuary? : a retrospective study of the preparation, mitigation and recovery of the Queenstown community from the effects of the Queenstown flood and hazard slip events of 1999 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Using a salutogenic paradigm, the present study examined the factors that contributed to hardiness and resilience, in the Queenstown community, following the flood and slip events of November 1999. It was hypothesised that sense of community, coping style, self-efficacy, and social support would predict stress, as measured by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-21 (HSCL). It was also hypothesised that unique environmental qualities of Queenstown, i.e. the lakes, mountains, small community and being a visitor destination, would make a significant contribution to participants sense of community. Hazard knowledge, preparation and mitigation, with particular reference to flood hazards was also examined Additionally, in depth interviews with a high intensity sample of participants, were also carried out. This qualitative information was intended to examine the strengths within the community that had helped the community to deal with the flood and slip events. Additionally, the interviews were used as a forum, for participants to raise their own issues, relating to these events. The hypothesis that the selected variables would predict resilience, was not supported, but support was found for the importance of the unique physical and environmental qualities of Queenstown to residents. The interview results provided support for the view that the Queenstown community was able to withstand the effects of the flood and slip events, with recovery of businesses and tourism being almost complete at four months post event. Though some of those properties affected by the event could never be restored, resulting in irreplaceable losses and changes to individuals' lives, the community showed remarkable strengths and had done much to address inadequacies highlighted by the events.