The impacts of the 2016 earthquakes are still being felt by many in Kaikoura, according to the latest research by mental health awareness campaign All Right?.
In April, All Right? interviewed 150 Kaikoura locals to highlight the ongoing stresses impacting the community. It found that nearly one in three respondents said their lives have become worse since the earthquakes, and 40% are struggling to deal with recent quakes. Additionally, over half of all respondents said they feel a sense of loss in relation to community facilities, changes in the community and the inability to collect kai moana.
“It won’t surprise people to hear that ongoing road closures are a continued source of stress for the majority of our community,’ All Right? Kaikoura health promoter Rachel Vaughan said. “They are a major reason why nearly half of us (46%) are choosing to stay closer to home than before.”
The study also suggests that people in Kaikoura are still worried about another big earthquake, with 52% agreeing that this was of real concern. Nearly half (47%) of parents said they are still seeing the effects of the earthquakes on their children’s wellbeing, and 39% say their children are more anxious or clingy.
Vaughan noted that while many people are still struggling to deal with the impact of the quakes, some positives have emerged. Ninety-one per cent (91%) of respondents said they now valued others more, 93% agreed it was more important to know their neighbour, and 50% said they now spend more time together as a family.
She said the results paint a clear picture of what life is like in Kaikoura, and will help to determine what’s required when it comes to the region’s ongoing recovery.
“And it’s also important to remember that it’s early days for us, with international research showing it can take up to 10 years to recover from the emotional effects of a natural disaster and recovery effort,” Vaughan said. “That means it’s all right to sometimes be feeling the strain, the tiredness – it’s a normal experience for communities affected by disaster.
“There is no ‘correct’ way or time to recover, it’s a process of adaptation and we all do it differently. Looking after ourselves and each other will make a crucial difference,” she added.