Quake refugees sur­veyed

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

Per­sonal ac­counts from the Christchurch earth­quakes have touched Gail Adams in more ways than one and she is fo­cus­ing her PhD stud­ies on them. Study­ing at Waikato Univer­sity, Ms Adams is do­ing a PhD on emo­tional ge­og­ra­phy and is look­ing into the rea­sons why peo­ple have cho­sen to re­lo­cate to the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District from Christchurch.

As part of her re­search she wants to talk to peo­ple and hear their per­sonal ac­counts of the earth­quakes.

‘‘I am in­ter­ested in talk­ing to peo­ple about why they have cho­sen to re­lo­cate to this area and about their ex­pe­ri­ences,’’ she said.

‘‘If there are peo­ple that are will­ing, I would send ques­tions out first, fol­low eth­i­cal guide­lines and peo­ple can with­draw at any time if they want to.’’

Ms Adams said it fas­ci­nated her that through strong emo­tions and grief, a per­son’s ideas about a cer­tain place could be changed for­ever and that one neigh­bour­hood would stay and one would go – as it has hap­pened in Christchurch.

‘‘This study is hugely valu­able to see how peo­ple are go­ing to re­cover from it and that is what I am work­ing to­wards.’’

She flew to Christchurch last month to ex­pe­ri­ence the re­al­ity of life there to help her un­der­stand what she is study­ing.

‘‘I thought nearly a year on from Septem­ber that a lot of things would have been cleaned up by now but it’s not. Noth­ing in the me­dia pre­pares you for what you see there. It was a sober­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to say the least.’’

She be­gan her PhD in April this year af­ter com­plet­ing a Masters in grief in ge­og­ra­phy and a dou­ble ma­jor in ge­og­ra­phy and an­thro­pol­ogy. She de­vel­oped a pro­posal for her PhD af­ter the Septem­ber earthquake but since the Fe­bru­ary one, has re-an­gled it to fo­cus on re­lo­ca­tion. ‘‘ Of­ten the re­search is fo­cused on the peo­ple in Christchurch but noth­ing has been said about peo­ple who have moved and what their ex­pe­ri­ences are so I am hop­ing to find out.’’

To con­tact Ms Adams call her on 021 264 5172 or email gaila@ waikato.ac.nz.

Gail Adams wants to talk to peo­ple who have re­lo­cated to the Mata­mata-Pi­ako district from Christchurch since the earth­quakes.

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