Professor Carol Mutch, University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau
Education Commissioner for the New Zealand Commission to UNESCO
Carol Mutch has spent the last decade researching the role of schools in disaster and crisis contexts. Her work has spanned six countries: New Zealand, Australia, Japan Vanuatu, Samoa and Nepal. She has studied earthquakes, tsunami, bushfires, cyclones, floods and, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. Her over-arching research finding is that schools play a significant role in the response and recovery phases of traumatic community and national events. While this role is often taken for granted, it is under-recognised and under-acknowledged. Schools step up quickly and are still supporting students, families and communities long after the cameras have gone – and often to the detriment of staff’s physical and mental health.