New Zealand Embassy Washington, United States of America

How sport helped in the aftermath of Christchurch earthquake

Dr Holly Thorpe speaking on how sport helped in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake

On 3 December 2012, the New Zealand Embassy hosted a presentation by Dr Holly Thorpe, a visiting Fulbright scholar from the University of Waikato, on “The Christchurch earthquake: How sport helped the city recover from natural disaster.” 

The presentation focused on the role of sport and physical activity in the resilience and recovery of individuals and communities affected by the earthquake. 

Drawing upon interviews conducted with residents living in Christchurch before, during and after the earthquake, Dr Thorpe explained how this event forced many to rethink the importance of sport and physical activity in their everyday lives, and for their connections to space, place, family and community. Dr Thorpe also mentioned that new media played a big role in helping sporting communities share information on which sporting facilities were damaged after the earthquake.

Dr Holly Thorpe is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University where she is teaching a course this semester entitled Sport and National Identity. A sociologist of sport and youth culture based at the University of Waikato, Dr Thorpe has published widely on the topics of the growing phenomenon of extreme sports in global and local contexts, and the changing roles of young women in sport. Her website can be viewed at


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