Tourism and food security research in post-quake Kaikōura
Gradon Diprose is one of the Resilience Challenge’s newest researchers. He started at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research in February 2019 and has jumped straight into the RNC – Rural workstream.
Gradon grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato, and later moved to Raglan, so appreciates the importance of food production and tourism for rural and small town communities around Aotearoa. With a background in resource and environmental planning and human geography, Gradon is particularly interested in how people come together around shared concerns to create more sustainable communities.
He’s currently working alongside Nick Cradock-Henry and Joanna Fountain (Lincoln University) in Kaikōura and North Canterbury focusing on the dynamics of rural disaster response strategies and recovery trajectories. This research has two main foci – tourism disaster response and recovery, and enhancing food security and food networks.
The work on tourism disaster response and recovery includes a recent survey (February 2019) which collected data on over 500 visitors to Kaikōura. The survey asked about their motivations to visit the region, decision-making processes, and participation or interest in a range of existing and proposed activities in the town and surrounding area. This information will be used to inform future tourism planning and regional economic development. The survey also explored tourists’ understanding and preparedness for natural hazards, their awareness of appropriate responses, and their expectations of host communities during and after such events. The results will provide valuable insights for other rural tourism destinations throughout New Zealand, and highlights the need to consider international and domestic visitors in emergency preparedness and planning.
Gradon is also contributing to work on issues relating to regional food security and resilience in Kaikōura and North Canterbury. This workstream is investigating the emergence of new opportunities to build and strengthen local food networks for greater resilience at the community level including food tourism and rural supply chains. Food tourism is seen as a way to strengthen local networks of producers, as demand for local food products and experiences from tourists will help to ensure their economic sustainability. The findings so far suggest that having a diverse range of locally produced food can be important for a community in a natural disaster or extreme weather event, while also reducing vulnerability to international price fluctuations, shifting market demand and supply chain changes.
You can hear more about both of these pieces of research in this recent interview on RNZ with Rural’s Dr Joanna Fountain.