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Agri-food tourism, rural resilience, and recovery in a post-disaster context: insights and evidence from Kaikōura-Hurunui, New Zealand

Fountain J, Cradock-Henry N, Buelow F, Rennie H. 2021. Agrifood tourism, rural resilience, and recovery in a postdisaster context: insights and evidence from Kaikōura-hurunui, New Zealand. Tourism Analysis. 26(2-3):135-149. doi:10.3727/108354221X16079839951420.

Abstract

In November 2016 an earthquake struck the rural districts of Kaikōura and Hurunui in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. The region is made up of small, dispersed communities. It has a local economy based on tourism and agriculture, and limited transportation connections. The quake severely damaged essential road and rail networks, which were needed to keep goods, visitors, and services flowing to and from the district. This left agrifood producers with significant logistical challenges, and meant their productivity went down and they had difficulties reaching their usual markets. Regional tourism destinations also suffered with changes to the number, characteristics, and travel patterns of visitors. Our research draws on data and insights from a range of affected stakeholders, including food producers, tourism operators, and local government. We explore the significance of emerging agrifood tourism initiatives for fostering diversity, enhancing connectivity, and building resilience. If more distribution channels were available this would strengthen both agrifood producers and the region's tourism identity. Stakeholders' shared experience with the earthquake and its aftermath opened up new opportunities for regeneration and reimagination, and influenced current agrifood tourism trajectories. In particular, additional funding and an emphasis on strengthening rural networks and building social capital within and between regions, is enabling more resilient and sustainable futures.

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