Interrogating concepts of resilience and vulnerability as applied to Pacific diasporic communities in relation to disaster response and recovery : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany Campus, New Zealand

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Massey University
The objective of this research is to interrogate the concepts of resilience and vulnerability among Pacific diasporic communities in the context of disaster recovery and response; the purpose is to explore Pacific indigenous resilience and redefine the vulnerability of Pacific communities – a narrative so often perpetuated by government and international policy. A reflexive thematic analysis was conducted on three transcripts from disaster-focused community forums which used talanoa – a Pacific qualitative methodology. Three overarching themes emerged from the data: 1) A history and a future of resilience; 2) Don’t tell us we’re vulnerable – listen and let us lead; and 3) A Pacific community is a strong community with solutions. These themes displayed an overwhelming level of resilience amongst Pacific communities and thus confirmed that Pacific communities are not inherently vulnerable. According to the results Pacific indigenous resilience can be defined as: 1) Learning from past generations to adapt and build forward better, 2) Supporting and serving communities for quick and immediate response and 3) Leading and partnering to activate solutions. Pacific indigenous resilience is action-oriented and activated, therefore it is already happening within communities today, though often overlooked. The findings of this study reflect the need for vulnerability and resilience to be reimagined through a cultural and indigenous lens, and for the resilience of indigenous groups to not be measured by an ambiguous, universal scale. Pacific indigenous resilience must inform policy if disaster response and recovery strategy is to be relevant, effective, and inclusive of Pacific communities.