Wheelchair users’ experience of community inclusion following the Canterbury earthquakes


The aim of this research project is to explore barriers and facilitators relating to the areas of survival, preparedness, and coping during and following the earthquake on February 22nd, 2011.


A mixed methods design was used including interviews and a survey

BAIL Researchers

Key Contact

John Bourke, Burwood Academy of Independent Living

phone: 03 3836871 mobile: 021 112 5596
email: Johnny Bourke
This is a PhD project
John was a BAIL scholor for this project

Other researchers and collaborators 

Professor Philip Schluter (University of Canterbury)
Dr Jean Hay-Smith (University of Otago)
Dr Deborah Snell (University of Otago)


Begun July 2013, expected completion July 2017


Research suggests that despite an inevitable degree of uncertainty, disabled people are disproportionally vulnerable during natural disasters. A variety of social, economic, and environmental reasons are believed to contribute to this, including damaged infrastructure which restricts mobility, inaccessible shelters and temporary housing options, requiring assistance to organise supplies and equipment, and dealing with emergency personal who had little knowledge of disability needs and how to address those needs. Research also suggests that disabled people are poorly represented in emergency planning, and that there is also little collaboration with disabled people in designing emergency planning which creates emergency organisations who struggle to understand the extent or specific nature of the issues that need to be addressed.



Following is a video of a presentation on the project 1

Video link

Related information

Radio Interview - Listen to Johnny discuss the project on One In Five, 7:06 pm on 24 May 2015