Resilient Religious Communities

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson launched the 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒊𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝑪𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔: 𝑨 𝑮𝒖𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝑫𝒊𝒔𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 at the Auckland Town Hall on 27 July 2023 – exactly 6 months after the flooding disasters caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Religious Diversity Centre (RDC) developed this guide in cooperation with Auckland Emergency Management (AEM). A series of hui for consultation with religious communities were held in different areas of the city as part of the research and community engagement.

This guide has been developed for religious leaders and their volunteers to enhance their response to emergencies – from planning through to recovery.

Desley Simpson thanked the religious communities for their contributions during the January floods. She mentioned that the month of January had seen more than 45% of the usual yearly rainfall in Auckland. In these extreme circumstances, the religious communities organised the coordination and distribution of supplies, offered food and emotional support.

The places of worship and their communities had shown a true partnership approach, had been proactive and essential to cope with the disasters.

Councillor Sharon Stewart (Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management Committee Chair) affirmed the praise for the religious communities and honoured several groups for their outstanding contributions to the community-led response to severe weather events this year.

Prof Paul Morris (RDC) and Rohan Jaduram (AEM) led this research project and put together the Guide to Disaster Resilience. They engaged with more than 30 communities across the city.

3 Goals of the Guide to Disaster Resilience:

1. Raise awareness around hazards, risks and disaster preparedness.

2. Build disaster resilience capacity and capability.

3. Develop strong social connectedness to support community-led response.

Paul Morris introduced the unique guide which was useful and practical – encouraging and supporting religious communities to work together before, during and after and emergency or a disaster occurs.

Rohan Jaduram recalled the 6-months anniversary of the January floods in Auckland that caused 6 deaths and impacted several 1,000 people. He acknowledged the community-led response: when a disaster hits, AEM will always need support from the community.

Jocelyn Armstrong, co-chair of the Religious Diversity Centre Trust, thanked Rohan Jaduram and RDC Trustee Professor Paul Morris for their leadership in this joint project. The RDC looked forward to continuing to work together with the Auckland Emergency Management as further events are organised and a Resilient Religious Communities Network developed, community-led and agency supported.

The Resource is available here.