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Community resilience — what matters and what works

The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to provide an evidence base to support all-of-Government thinking aimed at strengthening community resilience, during periods of significant adversity.

The scope of the evidence review was developed by MSD and refined through a workshop with the Chief Science Advisors network. It was a time-limited examination that drew on a limited research base, including literature from Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world. Priority was given to scholarly and peer-reviewed literature, and literature on Indigenous, Māori and under-served communities’ experience. Much of the literature was disaster focused.

Key findings

The review found a good starting point for supporting communities is to understand the cultural context of different communities and engage within that context. It identified six main ways that Government can support communities:

  • Understand community culture and dynamics
  • Enable equity in community resilience efforts
  • Support community-led approaches
  • Support the connections that communities have with government
  • Consider the psychosocial context of recovery
  • Support monitoring and evaluation

The review found local and central government can do three things to increase social capital in communities:

  • Provide the conditions for community resilience to thrive
  • Engage locally and encourage bonding, bridging, linking
  • Recognise and give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
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