A community undergoing a transformation, the unique highs and lows of the West Coast and the impact on the residents is now the focus of a PhD.
Alaskan-born human geographer Megan Hinzman headed to Queenstown in April this year, keen to take an anthropological lens to the West Coast's perceptions of their community and community health.
Currently in the interviewing stage of her research, which she is doing through UTAS, Ms Hinzman said she was busily talking to residents about how they feel, what they think, and what they say needs to be done in their towns.
"I'm specifically trying to get a diverse group of people, including multi-generational residents and newer locals," she said.
"Both groups deeply value the West Coast, so it's about understanding the different value sets between them as it's slightly divided."
With the region going through such a shift away from its mining roots and towards a heavy, natural-focused tourism identity, Ms Hinzman said it was a fascinating time to be based in Queenstown.
She said she was surprised to find the area was "understudied".
"Something that's come up is the way that the rest of Tasmania speaks of the West Coast. There's a reputation of being insular and inward looking," she said.
"But the region is really aware of its role in the world market. They choose to live here not because they're afraid of the rest of the world, but because they feel secure.
"I think the West Coast, and you'll see it in the locals and people who move here, has a special draw for people."
She said issues being raised in her research include what a growth in visitors will do to health services - both positively and negatively, how it will change the sense of community and what services could be introduced or enhanced to improve livability.
"West Coast locals know change is happening, but they want to it on their terms. There are a lot of ideas that have been put forward that haven't come to fruition, which can lead to burnout in a community.
"The story of the West Coast as a rural, resource-dependent community and the impact of industry and community changes is really a global story.
"I've seen it in Alaska, and I've seen it in Canada. What's happening here is seen throughout the world, even the turn to tourism to utilise the natural beauty of the region.
"Being in the region now, you're in the middle of that transition period. It's exciting and it makes me nervous."
Ms Hinzman is expecting to enter the writing phase of her PhD around late December to early January.
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