Disasters are focusing events that can drive immediate policy change. It argues that good recovery institutions provide the adaptive capacity that enables communities to recover from natural disasters. This paper briefly describes recovery processes after three natural disasters in Australia and New Zealand between 2009 and 2011: bushfires in Victoria in 2009, flooding in Queensland from 2010-2011 and earthquakes in the Canterbury region from 2010.
These cases demonstrate the importance of flexible governance arrangements. This is shown through the choice of recovery institution, evidence of institutional learning before and after disasters, the role of community engagement, response to insurance issues, and the building of resilience. Particularly important for resilience is the building of relationships between recovery institutions and local governments and communities.