Williams, T., & Mackay, M. (2013, February). Re-making spaces and places for estuary-based recreation: Changes, challenges and opportunities in the northern reach of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary / Ihutai. Lincoln University.
This report was commissioned in 2013 by the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust as part of their summer studentship programme. It covers a 10 week research project which focused on the impacts of the 2010-11 Ōtautahi Christchurch earthquakes on recreation opportunities and facilities in Ihutai estuary. The key aims of the project were to characterise impacts of the earthquakes on recreation activities and infrastructure at the northern reach of the estuary and to identify the challenges and opportunities confronting local authorities and recreation providers as they contemplated how to re-configure, build, and improve estuary recreation spaces.
To address these aims, the researchers utilised ten key informant interviews, informal conversations with community members, and secondary data analysis. Overall, they found the earthquakes drastically changed recreation in the area by restricting access to key sites. Among the key challenges facing local communities and recreation clubs, the long, complex processes associated with investigating and mitigating future earthquake risks was among the most significant as it caused people to look elsewhere for recreation opportunities.
Notably, the report also found several opportunities associated with the earthquakes. Because the South Brighton community had a strong sense of place in the area, they were able to maintain optimism and social engagement when imagining next steps for the community. The ultimate challenge identified in the report for the community and local authorities was successfully maintaining balance between restoring the natural capital and establishing new recreational opportunities to restore the socio-economic value of the area.