‘WE’RE COASTERS, WHY SHOULD WE MOVE?’:COMMUNITY IDENTITY, PLACE ATTACHMENT AND FORESTRY CLOSURE IN RURAL NEW ZEALAND

Kaylene Sampson, Colin Goodrich

Abstract


The Social Impact Assessment literature covering the assessment of actual effects of projects, programmes and polices is now sufficiently large to allow the drawing of quite specific conclusions on many general problems. In endeavoring to understand the counter-intuitive nature of the findings of a study on industry closure in south Westland, New Zealand, this paper engages the concepts of ‘sense of place’ and ‘attachment to place’ to argue why two small West Coast communities did not suffer major population loss and subsequent community decline in response to the loss of their core (and iconic) timber industry. We ask, ‘what was it about these two communities that enabled them to avoid predictable community decline, when the generalized SIA literature
would have indicated otherwise?’ Drawing on local narratives accessed
through extensive fieldwork interviews we argue that the resilience of these communities lies in the embedding of identity in place rather than in occupation. It is this recognition that gives the findings an integrity and robustness they would otherwise lack.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol2iss1id55