Conclusions and implications

Resilience is a valuable but contested concept. The study of resilience, with its focus on shocks and disturbances, can shake up our thinking and make us question some of our basic assumptions and measures of success and failure

In particular, studying resilience makes us question what aspects of a system should be preserved through time, and ultimately makes us think about the long-term viability of an economic system.

The evolutionary perspective of resilience, which takes a long-term, systemic view, and encompasses various shocks and disturbances, is generally seen as the most valuable in an economic context. This reflects that it is very hard to predict where the next shock will come from, and that different economic systems may deal with some types of shocks better than others, so focusing on the adaptability and long-run health of a system seems useful.

One insight from the evolutionary perspective of resilience is that, rather than aspiring to control change in systems assumed to be stable, policy should aim to manage the capacity of systems to adapt to change. In the context of regional resilience, building such capacity might involve developing strong local governance arrangements and institutions supported by central government policies, as well as making effective use of the region’s resources. Also important is local communities identifying for themselves what matters to them in terms of the long-term economic performance of their region. Insights from te ao Māori and kaupapa Māori may be instructive in developing such a long-term, collective view.

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Last updated: 03 July 2023