Researchers are crediting marae with playing a leadership role in the rebuild and recovery of Christchurch, following the earthquakes.
But a study also shows there was a heavy demand on marae workers and volunteers.
According to Emma Rawson of the Canterbury District Health Board, some whanau worked shifts of 24 or more hours cooking, feeding and hosting affected people.
She told the Public Health Association's annual conference in New Plymouth today that some whanau reported problems with burnout and stress.
Ms Rawson says some expressed concern about the mental health implications of the earthquakes over time, and the effects of stress and trauma.