This paper presents insights into the impacts on Māori of the Christchurch earthquakes and draws on personal research experiences to discuss disaster research with impacted minority communities. Three topics are discussed. The first is the role of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in disasters. If IK such as Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) is to be ‘integrated’ with science to somehow build communal and wider societal resilience; which systems are these integration processes building the resilience of; and for whom?
The second issue I discuss is the role of Indigenous culture in the response phases of disasters. My concern is that our culture is in danger of reification, posited as a necessary and sufficient condition for our resilience, and as researchers we are poorly equipped to deal with culture as a pedestal adornment. Finally, drawing on the experiences of two previous and one current project, I discuss some of the ethical, practical, and logistical challenges of working with Indigenous individuals and collectives and challenge the assumption, often codified by Indigenous researchers ourselves, that ‘to be indigenous is to be resilient’ ( Rotarangi & Russell, 2009, p. 209).