Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Dreams from Kiribati: Maintaining identity and social resilience post-migration

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posted on 2021-11-15, 12:54 authored by Cameron, Jerome

Climate change is widely regarded as a factor that contributes to migration through sea level rise and consequently Kiribati is expected to become uninhabitable and require mass migration. The question around how to resettle Kiribati’s population is without an answer. This thesis sought how the people of Kiribati envision their society will look, function and feel post-migration. This thesis used the strength based methodology Appreciative Inquiry to frame migration in a positive way to help get participants beyond the frightening idea of migrating and rather explore dreams for making migration work for the people of Kiribati.  Fieldwork in Kiribati found participants’ dreams cover a wide array of needs such as identity, community connectedness, liveable income, recognised education and the ability to celebrate their culture. These dreams correlate strongly with the components of social resilience which indicates holistic adaptation planning is likely to be the most effective approach. Of all resilience influencing components, the relationship between culture and identity appears the most integral and if the I-Kiribati are able to reproduce their culture in ways that are less dependent on location, the migrating population will likely be more socially resilient when their location of residence changes.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Haalboom, Bethany; Gamlen, Alan