Student profile: Cuong Nguyen





A bit about me 


I was born in Vũng Tàu city, Vietnam. My hometown is a beautiful coastal city in the south-east of the country. With its golden sandy beaches and inactive volcanic mountains, my little city draws many visitors from Ho Chi Minh City who can arrive by hydrofoil. In 2008, I moved to London to complete a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Economics at Queen Mary University of London and worked as nail technician and assistant accountant. In 2014, I went back to Vietnam to work at Vietnamese-German University in Bình Dương.

During my childhood, I enjoyed studying geography and watching disaster-related movies, especially the Godzilla series. From that knowledge, I learnt more about how public institutions respond during critical times and how communities resist and recover after a catastrophic event.

On top of that, I frequently saw sad news about the effects of storm surges, floods and landslides in Vietnam and Japan. I felt I needed to be more informed and contribute my knowledge to enhancing society’s resilience. As a result, in September 2016, I decided to pursue a PhD in Economics under the supervision of Professor Ilan Noy (Chair in the Economics of Disasters) at Victoria University of Wellington.

In my spare time, I enjoy swimming and playing tennis. Currently, I am in the top 1000 tennis players in New Zealand, based on interclub ranking.


Cuong at Mount Victoria summit and the Wellington waterfront

My project


Through my PhD, I work on several projects regarding earthquake insurance and the property market. In New Zealand we have the privilege of having access to rich datasets from many different sources, which makes it possible to answer many interesting research questions. My focus is on the 2010 -2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES). Using the insurance claim payment data from EQC, I examine the role of insurance in residential recovery in Greater Christchurch. I also compare the functions and capability of different earthquake insurance schemes for countries that have similar earthquake risk profiles to New Zealand. In addition, I investigate homeowner’s decisions regarding the Crown’s offers for houses in the residential red zones in Christchurch. I’m currently working on investigating the change in risk perception for property markets post-CES and the effect of coastal hazards on Kāpiti Coast property sale prices.

Local councils and Crown research institutes are interested in my projects and have been very supportive during my research process. I feel that my research outcomes can contribute to their decision-making around natural hazards and resilience. The PhD program provides me an opportunity to enhance my skill set; I have learnt to use different software and programming languages such as ArcGIS, QGIS, Stata, R and Python. For example, I extracted nightlight intensity from NASA satellite imagery to use in one of my research projects.


Night-time light imagery for Greater Christchurch

As part of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Economics toolbox, my supervisor and I are collaborating with Resilient Organizations and Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) on a research project developing resilience indicators for the Wellington region. As part of this project, I am currently gathering resilience metrics from various ministries and local councils.


Next steps


When starting the PhD program, I did not foresee how interesting the process would be. After two years pursuing the degree, I still think about many ideas for potential research projects that would serve both academic and applied purposes.

My next step is to finish writing my current papers. After that, I will work on one or two additional research projects before my PhD completion. I plan to submit my thesis by summer 2019 and continue my journey in disaster research.


The Wellington Lifelines Regional Resilience Project



By Nicky Smith

How can co-ordinated infrastructure planning and investment improve the resilience of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, to earthquake events? To what extent can targeted infrastructure investments reduce the economic consequences experienced by Wellington, and the rest of New Zealand, should a large-scale event occur? These were among the key questions considered by a group of researchers, including members of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Economics Toolbox, in the Wellington Lifelines Regional Resilience Project.
The Wellington Fault running through Thorndon, Kelburn and Wellington city

Wellington’s vulnerability to a major earthquake event is well known, with a probability of a local magnitude 7.5 or greater earthquake of around 20% over the next 100 years. Evidence from New Zealand and abroad indicates that when key infrastructure is out or operating at degraded levels of service following a major hazard event, people leave, productivity drops, and communities and the economy suffer. What is more, utilities are also strongly interconnected, with the operation and restoration of one infrastructure often critically dependent on one or more other infrastructures. Despite these interdependencies, utilities have historically planned their resilience investments independently, often leading to diluted assessment of resilience arguments and sub-optimal investment outcomes.

Recognising the deficiencies in routine approaches, the Wellington Lifelines Regional Resilience Project has taken a step forward in integrated resilience planning. Drawing on knowledge from all 16 Wellington utility providers and local government, it identified and presented a preferred, accelerated, programme of infrastructure investments for Wellington. The project was supported by GNS Science’s RiskScape and Post Disaster Cities (PDC) teams who modelled and mapped infrastructure service outages and restoration after a M7.5 Wellington Fault event, and its associated perils (fault rupture, ground shaking, liquefaction, landslides, lateral spreading, subsidence).  The likely scale and timeframe of infrastructure service losses under current investments were compared with that which might occur should further investments be made in infrastructure resilience.

The outcomes from this work then fed into modelling performed within MERIT (Measuring the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure Tool), a novel economic simulation tool developed by Market Economics, Resilient Organisations and GNS Science under the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure research programme and being extended under Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, that enables high-resolution assessment across space and through time of the economic consequences of infrastructure failure, business response and recovery options.  With the preferred programme of investments, the MERIT modelling demonstrated a multi-billion-dollar reduction in economic losses and improved community outcomes in the event of a major seismic event in Wellington.  In addition, the investment programme was also recognised to have co-benefits in reduction of losses and faster community and economic recovery arising from smaller earthquakes, and from threats arising from other perils.

Linkages between the various stages of damage loss assessment and economic impact analysis for the Wellington Lifelines Regional Resilience Project

The Wellington Lifelines Regional Resilience Project is an excellent example of multi-stakeholder co-ordination for a common goal and demonstrates a positive step forward in resilience planning in New Zealand.

Further information and demonstration of the MERIT tool is available at:

Building the resilience of local economies to the flow-on impacts of natural hazard events



By Emily Harvey, Stuart Mead and Morag Ayers 

When a natural hazard event occurs, there are many direct impacts on people, infrastructure, and businesses in the area. These direct impacts often lead to substantial indirect impacts on other businesses in the area and further afield when goods or services are suddenly not able to be produced, purchased or transported. Using the Waikato Region as a case study, researchers in the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Economics programme are investigating how the interconnections and interdependencies in the economy affect how these flow-on impacts propagate. Finding out what causes the effects to be amplified or reduced will help to inform resilience building strategies.
5 January 2018 storm event near Thames. Photo: Nick Van’t Wout

Co-creating natural hazard scenarios


In the first stage of this project we held a workshop process with stakeholders around the Waikato Region, including local and regional council members, CDEM, and the Waikato Lifeline Utilities Group. Within this process, researchers were able to listen to stakeholders and work out the key social, economic, cultural, and environmental impacts of natural hazard events that they were concerned about. From this workshop two natural hazard scenarios were selected based on the type of impacts they would have, the availability of data to model them, and the level of concern of stakeholders. The selected events were: a 6.9M Kerepehi Central fault earthquake that produces strong shaking in the Hauraki Plains region, and moderate shaking in other Waikato regions, and an extra-tropical cyclone storm event that produces a storm surge, high winds, and extreme rainfall.


Waikato region earthquake scenario from a Kerepehi Central fault

Understanding interconnections in local economies


In the modern economy, infrastructure, businesses, and communities in local regions are interconnected in increasingly complex ways. The flow-on effects of a natural hazard event depend critically on the structure of the local economy and the infrastructure network, as well as on the interconnections between local economies. As local economies become increasingly complex, these impacts become increasingly challenging to analyse, with the potential for unforeseen consequences. In this project we are looking at local economies at the Territorial Authority (TA) level. Using datasets called Input Output Tables, we have quantifications of the flows (in monetary terms) between all the industry sectors within and between the Waikato TAs, as well as to the rest of New Zealand and the rest of the world (imports and exports). An example of the interconnections you see in this data when you look at the economy as a network is shown below.


Example of the network you would produce from the Input-Output table data for the Waikato region (Region 1), north of the Waikato (Region 2), and south of the Waikato (Region 3) with industry sectors aggregated into primary (Ind1), manufacturing (Ind2), and services (Ind3)

Disrupting local economic networks


In this project we are developing a model that considers the disruptions to industries and regions that are up and downstream from direct impacts, and incorporates potential adaptations (e.g. sourcing goods from outside the region). We will use the two co-created natural hazard scenarios to investigate how impacts propagate following a natural hazard event in the Waikato region. By looking at a detailed local economy structure level, this work will help to identify consequences that are not directly obvious. We will also test artificial isolated disruptions to individual industries and industry connections to identify critical sectors or links.




Through this research we will identify the characteristics of local economies that enhance (or reduce) their resilience to natural hazards, as well as identifying ‘hot spots’ (critical sectors or critical links) within the economy that amplify disruptive impacts. Within the Waikato Region, the TAs range in structure and include some that are dominated by agriculture, some tourism driven, and the urban economy in Hamilton city. By looking at the impact that disruptions have in a range of both rural and urban local economies, our results will be applicable around New Zealand more broadly.

Dismal research of a boring topic:

An economic investigation of disaster insurance



By Ilan Noy

The Christchurch Earthquake of 2011 was the most insured earthquake ever, anywhere, with 98% of Christchurch properties being insured when the quakes occurred (Nguyen and Noy, 2017). In comparison, a recent New York Times article stated that only 13% of houses in California are currently insured. Yet the public’s view of the way our public-private insurance system functioned in the aftermath of the quake is dim, at best.

What were the impacts of all this insurance cover during the recovery in Christchurch? How will our insurance system deal in the future with weather risk as climate change begins to bite more? And what can we do to fix any problems? These are some of the questions being asked by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges’ Economics Toolbox researchers. 

Damage being assessed after the 2011 Canterbury quake

In July 2018, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) reported that it was still processing 3,476 claims for damage from the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES). During that month, it closed 811 claims, but also received 767 new claims associated with the CES (some for previously completed repairs). So, in July, the net reduction in the number of open claims was 44. Yet, the CES was the most heavily insured event in history, and as such our insurance system managed to shield New Zealand from much of the financial consequence of the earthquakes. The cost of the earthquake recovery was largely transferred overseas (to insurance companies across the Tasman, and further afield to reinsurers in London and other international financial centres).

When insurance functions properly it manages to transfer the financial risk from individuals, families, and companies, to the financial markets. In addition, the best disaster insurance systems also manage to incentivise risk reduction ex ante and to speed up recovery ex post. It should also encourage and enable investment in productive opportunities and protect the most vulnerable in our society from falling into poverty in the aftermath of an event. While our insurance system did achieve its first goal, it delivered less successfully on the other four. 

In the first years of the Resilience Challenge, our team (Ilan Noy, together with post-grad students Cuong Nguyen, Sally Owen, Jacob Pastor-Paz, Polly Poontirakul, and Belinda Storey) has documented how and when our insurance system does and does not deliver on its promise. This research agenda included examining both the Earthquake Commission insurance, the private residential insurance that sits on top of the EQC cover, and commercial insurance (both for commercial property and business interruption).

For example, we documented that EQC insurance payments assisted in the recovery of residential areas of the city, which was measured by night-time luminosity as captured by satellites. More surprisingly, this research also documented that cash payments were more conducive to local economic recovery, as measured by nightlights, than house repairs done through the managed repair programme (though we do not know whether the damage was repaired with this cash). In another research project, we documented that firms that had insurance and were paid promptly recovered much better than both firms with no insurance and firms that had insurance but whose claim payments were delayed. Unexpectedly, we found that there was no observable difference in recovery trajectories between those firms that had no insurance at all, and those who did, but whose payments were belated.


Average annual night-time light in 2013 at the area unit level from Nguyen and Noy (2018)

In a remarkably less lauded government initiative, the presence of so much insurance helped us (tax and rate payers) by funding most of the costs associated with the Residential Red Zone programme. The programme was the largest ‘managed retreat’ effort undertaken in a developed country to reduce risk exposure, through which residents were ‘bought out’ from risky Red Zone areas of the city. We are now examining the choices Red Zone property owners made, and determining what lessons we can learn from that programme for the future implementation of managed retreat plans elsewhere.


Who pays for managed retreats?

Based on the insights gained from this research, we recently made two submissions to the government for its Insurance Law Review. These submissions were written together with Roger Sutton, ex-CEO of CERA, Leanne Curtis, director of Breakthrough Services in Christchurch, and Samuel Becher, a Professor of Consumer Law. In the submissions, we advocated for several changes and additions to the Insurance Law; changes that we think will make New Zealand more ‘resilient to nature’s challenges.’

The importance of personal relationships in risk mitigation:
Meeting with business owners in North Canterbury



By Robert I Radics and Linh N K Duong 

Rural value chains are rich in personal relationships and these play a key role in risk mitigation.

A team of researchers have been interviewing local businesses in North Canterbury to explore the resilience of rural supply chains to natural hazards as part of Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. Coincidentally, the magnitude 7.8 November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake occurred during the study period, providing an opportunity to investigate how this event affected businesses in the area.

A value chain is the process by which a business adds value to produce its product. Generally, it involves the business receiving raw materials, adding value to the raw materials through various processes to create a finished product, and then selling that finished product to customers. On the other hand, a supply chain is the system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from the supplier to the customer.

Many North Canterbury businesses’ supply chains were disrupted by the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake when State Highway One (SH1) was closed between Seddon and Cheviot. The road was closed for just over a year, and the main railway line was closed for ten months (some services are still not restored).

Researchers have been exploring the effects of the disaster on the larger economy, as well as the recovery mechanism. This work is an in-depth analysis, looking at how a collapsed or partly functioning value chain affects the individual businesses and their value chains, and how we could mitigate the risks of a bullwhip (increasing swings in inventory in response to shifts in customer demand), snowball (propagation and amplification of disruptions) or ripple effect, for example.

The team is using a bottom-up approach to explore how the networks of rural supply chains, their connections with rural communities, infrastructure and dependency on partners further afield, were affected by the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

The bottom-up approach is useful as it gives us the ability to identify different behaviour and bounce back mechanisms of affected businesses after the quake. We have been able to compare behaviour and recovery of businesses on SH1 in North Canterbury, which were essentially isolated after the road closure, with businesses on the bypass roads, which a higher level, bird-eye view would not have been able to do.


The centre of Cheviot before the reopening of SH1 in 2017 – close to zero traffic



We met with business owners and managers in North Canterbury and asked them about their supply chains and how they were affected by the quake. The interviewees were generous with information that went beyond the answers of our questions, and the stories and perspectives shared resulted in interesting and rewarding conversations.

As part of participating, each interviewee will receive a map of their value chain and evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. This will include identification of opportunities in the business’ supply chain management for improvement, with accompanying benchmarks.


Example of a value chain map

Supplier information

  Your company score Industry average District average
Reliability 9.0 N/A* 8.4
Communication 6.7 N/A* 7.7
Personal relationships 5.3 N/A* 7.1
Willingness to compensate 4.3 N/A* 6.3
Easy to do business without this supplier 7.3 N/A* 5.3
Transparency of the supply chain 4.7 N/A* 6.0

Client information

  Your company score Industry average District average
Reliability 10.0 N/A* 8.8
Communication 10.0 N/A* 8.1
Personal relationships 6.7 N/A* 8.2
Willingness to compensate 10.0 N/A* 7.0
Easy to do business without this client 3.0 N/A* 5.6
Transparency of the supply chain 3.3 N/A* 5.4

* More information on industry averages will become available as data collection continues.

Examples of part of the feedback report.




The Kaikōura event was not the direct focus of these discussions, but talking about it was unavoidable. Farmers and service providers exposed to the event had improved their preparedness since, and were more resilient than those who had not personally experienced a disaster. Some of the preparedness activities that they had undertaken included increasing inventories, improving partnerships and in some cases adding infrastructure to substitute the centralised systems like generators and waste water cleaning systems.

The togetherness and interdependence in the North Canterbury community was evident. After the earthquake, farmers checked on their neighbours personally if they were not available via phone, and provided immediate help to each other. Employers called and visited employees who were potentially affected by the quake too.

During and after the natural disaster event, most of the partners across the value chain were ready to offer help to others far beyond their contractual obligations. It seems as though a commitment beyond the business’ interests comes into play when a community needs immediate help.

Data collection and linking the nodes in the complex value chain network will continue until early next year. We will send another information package to our interviewees with a picture and description of their extended value chain before the final report and publications are produced. This transparency and information flow will give participants another layer of knowledge and certainty, as well as providing a risk mitigation opportunity for them

Reclaiming Māori oral histories to understand tsunami hazard and history



Kei roto i ngā kōrero tuku iho ā-waha a te Māori e takoto ana ētahi kōrero nunui mo ngā ākitanga mai o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui o Aotearoa. I heke mai ēnei kōrero i ngā wāhi katoa ā-kōrero, ā-pakeke whakakitenga, e whakaara mai ana i ngā āhuatanga i taupokina ai te whenua e ēnei momo ngāru taupoki nunui hai tohu i a tātau kia āta manaaki, waihanga i te taiao i nāianei, hai ngā tau e heke mai nei kei whīua tātau e ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino nei.

Ko ngā kairangahau o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori kua tīmata ki te rangahau i aua korero tuku iho nei tapaia nei He Kōrero Whakataratara, kia hererea ngā kōrero tuku iho nei mo ēnei āhuatanga o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino o Aotearoa i tau atu ki runga o Rangitoto motu (D’Urville Island). Ko aua momo kōrero, He Kōrero Whakataratara The Rival Wizards he mea tuhituhi, i whakapukapukatia i te tau 1907 e te Pākehā nei a Alfred Grace (1867 to 1942), he kairangahau kohikohinga kōrero ia.

Kei roto i te kōrero nei He Kōrero Whakataratara; nā Te Pou he rangatira o taua wā i whakaara i tono kia ākina, kia whīua a Titipa tana hoariri e ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino nei he kore no Titipa e aro nui atu ki ngā whakahau a Te Pou. Ko ēnei ngaru taupoki nunui kino e kōrerotia ana e tukituki ana i ngā tātahi, onepū kia pākarukaru, pakaru katoa te whenua.  E ai ki ngā kairangahau ko ngā momo kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui nei, ōrite tonu ki ngā kōrero, ngā whakamārama o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui e kitea ana i ēnei rā e te hunga i waimarie te ora mōrehu mai i aua ngaru taupoki nunui kikino nei.


The northern coast of D’Urville Island where ongoing work alongside Ngati Koata and Ngati Kuia will take place over the months ahead. Photo: Dr. Emily Lane

Hai whakatinana i ēnei momo kōrero, whakakitenga ka whakaritea e ngā kairangahau kia uiuitia kia 20 tāngata o Ngāti Koata me Ngāti Kuia he hono o ēnei iwi ki te pito tokerau o Te Wai Pounamu kai reira nei te motu o Rangitoto. I roto i ngā uiui nei ko te mea nui i whāia e ngā kairangahau kia mau ki te kōrero o taua ngaru taupoki nunui, kia kaua e tirohia pēnei i tā te kōrero pūrākau whakakitenga. I āta rangahautia e ngā kairangahau kia pono te takoto mai o te kōrero, kia wherawhera tikahia aua kōrero kia kaua e noho hai kōrero whakawhitiwhiti pūrākau tōna whakaritenga, kia mau ko te ia tika o te kōrero pono.

Ko ngā tāngata o Ngāti Koata me Ngāti Kuia i uiuitia he mea tuku atu he tuhinga o te Kōrero Whakataratara The Rival Wizards i mua i te uiuitanga, haere nei te rangahau ko ia tangata i uiuitia, e kī tonu ana kāore rātau i kite i tēnei tuhinga Kōrero Whakataratara i mua i te whakahaeretanga o te uiui rangahau nei. Ahakoa anō tēnei i te mārama ngā tāngata i uiuitia ki ngā āhuatanga whakatakoto, whakahau kōrero o te ia o ēnei momo Kōrero Whakataratara. Āua atu e mōhiotia ana a Karepa Te Whetu nāna i tuku, i kōrero atu tēnei kōrero ki a Alfred Grace.  Whakaae katoa ngā tāngata i uiuitia ko Karepa Te Whetu e noho ana ki runga o te motu o Rangitoto (D’Urville Island) i taua wā ā, ko ia te tama mātāmua a Te Whetu, he rangatira nui a Te Whetu o taua wā o Ngāti Koata. Ko te nuinga o ngā tāngata i uiuitia i kī tonu iho kāre rātau i te mōhio mo te Kōrero Whakataratara o The Rival Wizards i te mea hoki kua matemate katoa ngā tāngata o taua whakatipuranga, ā, kua hūnuku rānei te hunga i pakeke mai ki runga i te motu o Rangitoto, ngaro atu hoki ki a rātau aua momo Kōrero Whakataratara.  Haunga anō ko te tino whakaritenga o tēnei rangahau e kī ana tērā kai roto i aua momo Kōrero Whakataratara ngā kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui tūkino o Aotearoa haere ake nei.  Me aro tonu ki aua momo kohinga kōrero kia mārama ai tātau i nāianei, kia noho tūpato, kia kaha te kairangahau ki te wherawhera i ngā kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui tūkino nei kia noho reri te hunga kei te taha moana e noho ana.  



Māori oral histories provide a rich source of understanding and information about past tsunamis in Aotearoa-New Zealand. They draw from multiple layers of experience and meaning, helping to recall the past as well as remind us about environmental risks in the present and future.

Researchers from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Mātauranga Māori programme have recently delved into a ‘folk tale’ called The Rival Wizards to explore the inclusion of Māori ancestral experience with tsunami(s) on Rangitoto (D’Urville Island). The Rival Wizards is one of a number of Māori ‘folk tales’ published in 1907 by the European ethnographer Alfred Grace (1867 – 1942). In the story [hereafter pūrākau], the ‘wizard-chief’, Te Pou, summoned three great waves to extract retribution on his rival Titipa for defying him. These great waves were described, including how they struck and scoured the shores. According to the researchers the descriptive language is similar to that used by modern-day tsunami survivors.

To affirm the inclusion of tsunami narratives within the pūrākau, researchers conducted interviews with 20 key informants from Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia. These informants hold deep connections with the top of the South Island (where Rangitoto is located). The researchers were careful to ensure their analysis focussed on emphasising the participant’s views, rather than the meaning they themselves brought to the research. They wanted to avoid subjecting the pūrākau to any external judgements and risk turning it into something it was not.

Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia interviewees were given a written copy of The Rival Wizards before their interview, and upon questioning each person revealed that they did not know the pūrākau prior to the study. However, the informants were familiar with many of the elements and storytelling devices contained in the pūrākau. There was also widespread awareness of Karepa Te Whetu who told the pūrākau to Alfred Grace. All informants agreed that Karepa Te Whetu lived on Rangitoto, and was the elder son of Te Whetu, a respected Ngāti Koata leader. Many of the informants considered that the reason they did not specifically know about The Rival Wizards was due to whānau having passed on or moving away from the island, taking many of their stories with them.

Informants from both Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia spoke at length about the likelihood that the pūrākau derived from Rangitoto. The names and descriptions of locations were considered as well as common references to incantation and shapeshifting which were regarded as highly relevant to any claims of the narrative coming from the northern South Island. Further still, most of the Ngāti Kuia informants recognised the names of the main characters in the pūrākau, such as Rongomai, Te Pou and Titipa. One respondent said that Te Pou was his father’s middle name, and that “every Peter is a Pou” in Ngati Kuia.

At the end of The Rival Wizards Te Pou calls forth three catastrophic waves, which almost all informants agreed most likely referred to direct experience with one or multiple past tsunamis. However, they did not know exactly where or when this happened. Thinking about the great waves described in the pūrākau also led several of the informants to note similarities with another pūrākau from Moawhitu (Greville Harbour) on the western side of Rangitoto. In this alternative narrative, a tsunami possibly occurring in the 1400s or 1500s drowned nearly everyone living in the area, and their bodies now lie in the surrounding sand dunes. This catastrophic inundation may be the same one described in The Rival Wizards.

By working directly with Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia it is clear that there is a deep familiarity with the different elements of The Rival Wizards, including knowledge of a past tsunami (and possibly multiple events) on and surrounding Rangitoto. The importance of taking such stories ‘home’ to the community and family groups where they were originally told was also made clear through this research. It emphasises not only the critical role of whakapapa [ancestral lineage, genealogy] in framing and comprehending the context of such narratives, but it also recognises the authority of kin groups such as Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia, to reclaim and affirm their histories in their own words. This on-going work has the potential to contribute to the production of ‘new’ plural narratives about tsunami disturbance, recurrence and risk around Aotearoa-New Zealand’s coast.

To access the full research article please see:

Kura e Tai Āniwhaniwha: Tsunami risk reduction activities for kura in the Hawke’s Bay



Nā Lucy Carter

Ko ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori me ngā Kura Reo Rua, ngā Kura o Raro, Kura Tuatahi e piri pono ana ki te reo me ngā tikanga o te mārautanga ā-iwi o Aotearoa. I tipu mai, i whakaaratia ēnei Kura katoa hai whakapakari, whakaora, whakatinana i te reo me ōna tikanga hāngai ki taua takiwā, rohe me ngā hekenga mārautanga mātauranga katoa. Kia tipu kaha ai te tamaiti, kia ora ai tōna reo hāngai tonu te mau o ēnei momo Kura ki ngā Kaupapa Māori me ōna uarā, mātauranga Māori me te here mai o ngā rauemi reo hai whakapakari i ngā mahi akoranga ki roto i ngā akomanga rūmaki reo, reo rua tae atu ki ngā Kura Auraki.

Koia te āhuatanga o ngā ākina haukore, tūkino kohinga mātauranga nei he mea nui kia aro tika, tūhono pono ki ngā Kura katoa o Aotearoa i te mea hoki ko to tātau motu, whenua o Aotearoa ka ākina a tōna wā ka karawhiua mai e aua ākina haukore tūkino nei.  Ko tētahi o ngā ākina haukore, tūkino nei ko ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino ā, ko ngā whenua kai raro i ngā matapaki pātata ki te moana me whakatūpato ko ērā whenua piri ki te tātahi, onepū kei te taha Rāwhiti o Te Ika a Māui hāngai tonu atu ki Hikurangi Rārangi Whakaputa.  I te mea he hāhaka, he tere te whiu kino mai a te ngaru taupoki nunui kino kia noho reri, tūpato ngā hāpori katoa mo ēnei whakawhiu kikino o te ngaru taupoki nunui.


Napier foreshore. Photo © GNS Science

He mea tika hoki kia mōhio, mārama pai ngā tamariki ngongohi me o rātau whānau katoa, kia akohia e rātau me pēhea te whakatūpato i a rātau ki ēnei whiu kikino o te ngaru taupoki nunui kikino, tae atu ki te whakamōhio atu i ngā mātua o aua tamariki ngongohi. He nui te mōhio, te mārama o te iwi Māori mo o rātau ake rohe me ngā kōrero tuku iho hāngai ki te whenua, hāngai ki te takoto o te whenua piri pono ki ngā tātahi, onepu moana, ā, koia hoki kāre ēnei momo mātauranga a te Māori i te tino arotia e ngā māngai mātauranga o Aotearoa me te hunga hanga rauemi reo kōrero.

Ko ngā kairangahau mai i nga Hononga Pokapū o Rūwhenua Kairangahau, o Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa me Te Tairāwhiti Kāinga Rangahau (LAB) kei Ahuriri he mea tuku he pūtea kia rātau e Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa hono ki te mātauranga Māori kia aro rātau, kia mahi tahi, ā, me hanga he kete rauemi hai whakatūpato mo te āhuatanga o te ngaru taupoki nunui kino mo ngā kura kei Ahuriri, ō aua rohe ngaru taupoki nunui nei. Kei konei ka ara ake ngā taumata mātauranga Māori, te reo me ngā tikanga hai whakanui, whakakaha ake i ngā mahi whakatūpato ki ngā momo rauemi mātauranga ka whakamahia, kia hāngai ki ngā hāpori ake o taua takiwā mā ngā tauira o aua Kura nei me o rātau hāpori haere ake nei ngā tau.



Kura Kaupapa Māori (kura) and bilingual schools are primary schools which operate fully or partially under Māori custom and have curricula developed to include te reo Māori. These schools were established to empower tamariki and ensure Māori language and culture are a significant influence in their education. To ensure Māori students are supported in their ability to flourish culturally it is important to respect the place of Māori kaupapa values, mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and te reo in the resources developed for kura, bilingual and mainstream schools.

This is the case with natural hazard education, which is particularly important in Aotearoa New Zealand as a country vulnerable to a wide range of hazards. One of these is tsunami, which is of especially high risk in coastlines on the East Coast of the North Island along which the Hikurangi Subduction Zone lies. Because of the risk of near-source tsunami (which can reach land with a very small warning period) all sectors of the community must be prepared for a tsunami event.  It is important that children are reached out to, not only due to their valuable role as information providers about hazards within their families, but to empower them to become disaster resilient and aware adults. Māori have an extensive knowledge of their local rohe and the history of hazards (both from the whenua and from the moana) which is often not appropriately recognised within mainstream hazard education resources. Researchers from the Joint Centre for Earthquake Research, Massey University and East Coast LAB in Napier have been funded by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges contestable funding to collaboratively develop a kete (tool kit) of tsunami risk reduction activities for kura and schools located in Hawke’s Bay’s tsunami evacuation zones. This will provide an opportunity for Māori knowledge, te reo and tikanga to inform culturally appropriate hazard education activates that are culturally and locally relevant for the students and the kura and school communities.


Before developing these activities the researchers wanted to find out what would be most useful for the kura and school communities. To do this they held hui with kura and school staff to provide specific information about tsunami risk in their community, to shed light on what teachers already know about tsunami risk, and find out what activities and knowledge they would find most useful for their students. Cross-cohort mentorship is a pathway for educating children in a child-centric disaster risk reduction model. This pilot project will be working with high school aged students over a course of a few weeks to develop tsunami education activities which will then be run with primary school-aged students. By following a student mentorship model, students will be able to take ownership of the resources they develop and the responsibility of running the activities with younger students may help reinforce the importance of tsunami preparedness.

Once the activities have been carried out, the researchers will evaluate the process to find out what aspects of the process and activity worked, as well as to identify challenges. Evaluation might be carried out through another hui, or surveys of and interviews with participants, or a combination of these. The research findings and a summary of the project will then be drafted into a research note for publication, with participants having the opportunity to give feedback before this was submitted.

The foundation of this research will be the partnership between the Māori-led research team and the school communities. This means that the activities will be designed by and for Māori, address Māori concerns, and be implemented in accordance with Māori values, research practices and health models. Participants, stakeholders and the researchers will also collaborate in identifying potential issues and opportunities throughout the research process.


Mahia Peninsula, Hawke’s Bay. Photo © GNS Science

The role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary mōteatea


Nā Taiarahia Black

Te tātari, te rangahau i te here kaha o te reo me ōna mātauranga tiketike ki roto i ngā kohikohinga kōrero tahito, o ēnei rā hoki hai āwhina i te whānau, hapū, iwi kia tūhono me o rātau ake mātauranga mo te ngaro o te whenua, tae atu ki ngā au tuki, au here, au tanuku o aua whenua ki roto i ngā āhuatanga o te taiao whakaritenga.

I roto i ngā tau mutunga kore nei 100 -160, āua atu aua tau tūkino e kūtia ana, e pēhia ana te ora, te whakakapari o te reo ki roto tahi i te iwi Māori me te Pākehā.  Ā, ngaro kau atu te reo mai i tēnā whakatipuranga, i tēnā whakatipuranga.  Whakaheke tēnei āhuatanga o te ngaro o te reo ki ngā whānau, hapū me ngā iwi.  Ka ngaro rā te reo, ka ngaro ngā tikanga, ngā uarā me ngā here o ngā huhua mātauranga hohonu, mātauranga pupuri i ngā korero o te iwi, me te whenua.  Huhua mātauranga whakawhitiwhiti, tātari i te ora o te reo piripono ki ngā korero tuku iho mo takoto o te whenua mo ngā au heke, au tuki, au tanuku o te ākina mai o te whenua. 

He aha i pēnei ai te ngaro o te reo (1) i murua, i raupatutia ngā whenua ka whiua te iwi nō rātau ake aua whenua ki rāhaki, (2) ka whakakorea, whakangarotia atu te reo me ōna mātauranga hohonu katoa, (3) waihoki ka whakaeke mai ko ngā whakatanuku, waipuke nunui, papahoro ana ngā pari tahataha i roto i ngā tau tuangahuru nei.

Masters & Doctorate students at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, to whom Tai was presenting his latest Resilience reo publication

Hei aha tonu, i roto i ngā tekau tau hoki atu 30-40 tekau tau ka tipu kaha mai te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Kura, Kaupapa Māori, Mātauranga Māori, Pāpāho Māori; huri whānui noa e hikoi whakamua ana ngā taumata Māori o ngā aria matua whakapakari te reo whakaritenga; mātauranga, hauora, taha ohaoha, whakatipu, whakapakari, whakaora whenua, ngā mahi hangarau hou, mana motuhake, mahi rangahau pūtaiao hono tonu atu ki ngā ākina tūkino papa tipu whenua o te taiao. 

Ngā runga i tēnei huarahi hou, huarahi pakari ka tāea te rangahau i ngā kohinga korero o ngā hekenga tuku korero tūhono ki ngā iwi ma te mōteatea e whakatipu, e whakapakari ngā korero tūhono ki a Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tā Manuhiri.  Nui atu ngā korero kai roto i ngā mōteatea hai whakatipu, whakahoki mai i ngā rārangi aria matua mātauranga hohonu kia tipu kaha ai te whakawhiti, tatari hai tūhono atu ki te taiao, ki te pūtaiao me ōna here tikanga rangahau hāngai ki te ao Māori.  Mai i te tau 2016 kua oti i tēnei wāhanga o te reo rangahau Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori te whakapukapuka i ētahi rauemi o te reo hai ātamira nui i te reo ki tōna taumata tiketike.   Kua whakaputatia aua tuhituhi pukapuka nei ki ngā marae – wānanga- whānau, hapū me te iwi me ngā tauira reo ki Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

E whā ngā taumata o ēnei kohinga, tuhituhi pukapuka (1) te whakakao mai i ngā korero tahito o te mōteatea me ngā korero o nāianei e mau ai te mātauranga hai tuku ki ngā whānau, hapū me te iwi, (2) te whakatipu he mātauranga hou ki roto i ēnei mahi rangahau mōteatea, (3) te whakahoki mai, ki te whakapuaki i ētahi mātauranga hou kei roto i te mōteatea hāngai tonu ki ngā au tuki, au ngaro, au tanuku o te whenua.  Koia tēnei mahi a te reo rangahau a Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa he tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori e mau ai te ora, te mauri, te tuakiri, te tiketike kia manawa roa ēnei here katoa ki ngā whakatipuranga haere nei ngā tau.

Ko te whakaara mai o ngā pātai e toru, uiui rangahau o runga ake nei o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori te taumata kei te tino whāia i nāianei ki roto i tēnei mahi rangahau, whakarite rauemi reo hai whakahoki mai te mauri ora o te reo ki te whānau, hapū, iwi me ngā mātauranga tūhono ki te whenua, au tuki, au ngaro, au tanauku o te taiao me here ki te ao pūtaiao hohonu whakawhiti kōrero.



The role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary mōteatea – narratives to support whānau, hapū and iwi engagement with their knowledge and scholarship, their whenua and the loss of whenua in natural hazard management.

In the last 100-160 years the diversity loss of te reo for Māori and Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand has affected intergenerational whānau, hapū and iwi reo experience, knowledge and scholarship. This has been caused by (1) historical removal from inherited land sources and depopulation, (2) deliberate suppression of languages and knowledge, (3) the occurrence of environmental hazards over the millennium.

In the last 3-4 decades Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Kura, Kaupapa Māori, Mātauranga Māori, tertiary institution universities and Wānanga ā-iwi, Māori multi-media and broadcasting have had coverage right across the broad spectrum of Māori world views; in te reo, education, health, economics, land development, and sovereignty issues. This has allowed opportunities created by technology, sciences, and environmental hazard issues to emerge exponentially. 

This new direction has allowed whānau, hapū and iwi in Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tā Manuhiri to engage with the research through  traditional songs and other rich narratives sources. These forms of engagement have re-established the loss of responsive te reo critical theories, through critical pedagogical research methodologies.  As a product of this, the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges research platform has published eight te reo source tool kits, which support effective engagement with whānau, hapū and iwi.

These emerging critical te reo publications support  whānau, hapū and iwi engagement in 3 key areas: (1) accumulation and sharing of traditional and contemporary knowledge, (2) the creation of new knowledge, (3) restoring and unlocking new knowledge sources. 

This  Resilience Challenge te reo – research platform, titled ‘Investigating the role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary narratives to support whānau, hapū and iwi engagement with their knowledge whenua and the loss of whenua in natural hazard management’, is based on 4 research aims:

  1. the compilation, retelling and refreshing of essential narrative-heritage sources connected to the people and the natural environment,
  2. the recovery of rich te reo literary expression and philosophy
  3. recapturing reo historical ‘truths’
  4. compiling reo knowledge that is connected to occurrence of environmental hazards over the millennium to advance the expression of Māori philosophy and knowledge in science and environmental hazards.

The research aims above point the Resilience Challenge te reo – research platform to a new te reo direction. New knowledge narratives, supported by the Mātauranga Framework presented below, will be integrated with digital publishing to engage with Māori language teachers – marae, whānau, hapū, and iwi across Aotearoa. It will also create te reo resilience teaching resources to give continuity and build-cultural te reo diversity around environmental hazards. 

Investigating the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management



Nā Dr Wendy Saunders me Lucy Carter

Ko ngā hotaka a-iwi kaupapa whakahaere he rautaki whakatakoto huarahi, whakaritenga nā te iwi, me te Rūnanga me te hapū me ōna māngai whakaritenga i whakarite (IMP).  Ka hangaia ēnei rautaki- hōtaka e whakahau ana i te motuhaka – rangatiratanga o te hapū me te iwi e whakaaratia ana a rātau tikanga hānga pū ki te āhuatanga o Kaitiakitanga.  Kei roto i tēnei hōtaka e whakaatu ana i ngā rawa o te papa tipu whenua o taua rohe. Ko ēnei whakaritenga hōtaka he rauemi nui, atāahua hai āta titiro kia whakatūpato ki ngā au kino, au uaua whakahaere ā, he honanga kei konei hāngai tonu ki te mātauranga Māori o te āhua o te whenua me ōna whakaritenga.  Engari i tēnei wā nei kāore i te kitea atu mēnā kai te aro anō ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe whakarite ki ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi, ā-Rūnanga e whakaritea nei.

Ko ngā kairangahau o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa hononga piri tahi ki te mātauranga Māori e hiahia ana ki te whakatikatika ā, me tō rātau hiahia ngā kairangahau kia mōhiotia e pēheatia ana e ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe ngā hōtaka whakahaere a ngā iwi (IMPs) hai poupou nui mo ngā whakaeke mai o ngā raruraru ki ngā iwi, taiao whakahaere, ā, me pēhea hoki te whakamahi tika, pai i aua hōtaka ā-iwi nei. Kia whai whakaaro atu ki ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi kā tika.  Koia ka whakahaeretia tēnei rangahau mo aua hōtaka ā-iwi nei ki roto i te rohe o Te Waiariki i te mea hoki nui atu ngā tukina whenua, noho ngātahi o te maha o ngā uauatanga takoto mai o te hua tūkino whenua ki roto o Aotearoa nei ā, ko Te Waiariki tētahi o aua whenua nui te uaua piripono ki ngā momo tūkino o ngā nohanga whenua.


Whakatāne township, Waiariki. Photo © GNS Science

Kāre anō tētahi kairangahau kia āta waihanga, āta tātari i ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei kia whai wāhi atu ki ngā tukinga, ākina mai o Te Ao Tūroa e kitea ai te wāriu o ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi. Ko ngā whāinga o tēnei rangahau e whakakitea ai mehemea kai te piri pono ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe kia whai whakaaro rātau ki ngā hekenga kōrero, whakarārangi kōrero o ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi, Rūnanga hoki. Anei te kōrero a tētahi mema o te Kaunihera i muri tonu iho i te tūtaki, whakatinana tahi mai o ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei:

Ko ngā kōrero i puta mai mo ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei, kitea atu ana me aro atu te Kaunihera ki ēnei whakaritenga hōtaka whakahaere me ōna ritenga pai katoa (Kaikōrero mai te Kaunihera Haratua 2018).

Ae kua takoto tēnei rangahau hai tātari i ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe kia aro rātau ki ngā whakaritenga hōtaka a ngā iwi, me ngā Rūnanga whakahaere o aua takiwā, ō aua rohe kia manaakitia te reo kōrero o te iwi.  



Iwi management plans (IMPs) are resource management plans prepared by an iwi, iwi authority, rūnanga or hapū. They are generally prepared as an expression of rangatiratanga to help iwi and hapū exercise their kaitiaki roles by identifying issues regarding the use of natural resources in their area. IMPs are a valuable strategic tool for natural hazard management, and provide a link between Mātauranga Māori and land use planning.  However, their potential influence and role within council planning processes is uncertain.

Researchers from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Mātauranga Māori programme wanted to help clear up some of this uncertainty and find out how IMPs were being used as a tool for natural hazard management, and what the opportunities are for their use. To do this, they carried out a case study of iwi management plans in  the Bay of Plenty region (which is susceptible to every natural hazard in New Zealand). 

GNS Science researchers Lucy Carter, Wendy Saunders and Diane Bradshaw waiting for the ferry to Matakana Island for their hui on the Matakana Rangiwaea Island Hapū Management Plan

No one has investigated the role or use of IMPs for managing natural hazards before, making this research novel. Findings will provide key insights into how iwi and councils value IMPs, and how internal council processes can change to take IMPs into account more often and effectively.  As a representative of council expressed after a meeting on their implementation of IMPs:

“the kōrero certainly provided and promoted further discussion and areas for us to consider regarding our iwi management plans and processes” [council representative, May 2018]

In total, 29 IMPs have been lodged with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. The researchers analysed 21 of these plans  to find out what they specified with regards to natural hazards, how they linked to other plans and policies, and what the consultation process was.  Of these 21 plans, only six included reference to natural hazards, to different degrees; some had specific and explicit information on natural hazard risks and climate change, while others were more general.  Based on the content of these six plans, four were analysed in more detail to ascertain to what degree natural hazards had been included.  In addition, regional and district plans (including emergency management plans) were assessed for how they acknowledged IMPs.

In light of these findings, researchers are now investigating  how well IMPs are being implemented, used, and valued through hui with iwi and councils, with research due to be completed by June 2019.

It is intended that this research will help to Increase  awareness of IMPs within councils, as well as providing new and/or improved processes and education that support and encourage the use of IMPs in all planning processes. It will also strive to see IMPs becoming more valued and supported as another method to manage natural hazards in Māori communities, and ensure that IMPs are valued, useful and used by consultants, consent applicants, and councils. It is hoped that the study will also help researchers to become more aware of the IMPs, and how the Mātauranga within the IMPs can inform their science direction and contribute to their outcomes.

To date two publications have been published:

Saunders, W.S.A., 2017: Setting the scene:  the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management.  GNS Science Report 2017/30, p34.

Saunders, W.S.A., 2017: Investigating the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management: a case study from the Bay of Plenty region.  GNS Science Report 2017/50, p74.

In addition, the following publications are planned in the next 12 months:

  • Internationally peer reviewed journal article on the role indigenous knowledge in planning for natural hazards from a Māori world view perspective
  • Internationally peer reviewed journal article on the role indigenous knowledge in planning for natural hazards from a western governance perspective
  • Planning Quaterly article on the role and value of IMPs in natural hazard management (PQ is the planning magazine of the NZ Planning Institute)

Key stakeholders that have been involved in interviews to date are: Ngāti Raukawa; Ngāti Rangiwewehi; Ngāti Rangitihi; Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands iwi; South Waikato District Council; Waikato Regional Council; Rotorua District Council; Western Bay of Plenty District Council; and Tauranga City Council.  Interviews with Bay of Plenty Regional Council; Whakatāne District Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, and Kawearu District Council are planned.  In addition, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management, and Local Government NZ will be targeted as findings and recommendations are drafted.


Tauranga harbour. Photo © GNS Science

Student Profile: Jake Robinson



Nā Jake Robinson

Ko Ruapehu te Maunga

Ko Whanganui te Awa

Ko Atihaunui a Pāpārangi te iwi

Ko Te Pooti te Marae

Ko Jacob Robinson tōku ingoa


I whānau mai ahau a Jacob Robinson ki Raetihi pātata ki te maunga tipua nei a Ruapehu.  I Raetihi ka tipu taku hiahia ki ngā kōrero tūhono, whakaora o te taiao. Mai anō i āhau e tamariki ana ka tipu taku wairua, ngākau ki ngā pukenga nui o te taiao, ka hīkoitia e ahau te papa tipu whenua o ngā ngāhere i te pāmu a taku koroua me taku kuia. No te pahutanga o te maunga tapu nei a Ruapehu i aua tau 1995 – 1996 ka uru mai te wairua ki ahau kia whai ahau i te taha mātauranga taiao, pūtaiao.  I rongo, i kite ahau, tātau katoa o te motu whānui i te reo kōrero o Ruapehu i tōna pahutanga.  I konei ka tipu taku hiahia ki ngā kohinga kōrero mātauranga o te taiao, hono atu te pūtaiao. 

Whāia e rua ngā mahi i mahia e ahau ki te whakapakari i taku taha whai mahi.  Ā, 26 taku pakeke ka tīmata ahau ki te whai i ngā tohu mātauranga pūtaiao ki Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa (Massey University).  Ko te kaupapa i whāia e ahau ko te taha Pūtaiao hāngai ki a Papatūānuku.  Mutu pai, tutuki pai i ahau te tohu Paetahi hōnore e tuhi, e tātari ana ahau i ngā momo maringi pūpū tahi mai o te rangiora (lahar) ki te taha tonga-hauāuru taiāwhio o maunga Ruapehu whakaritenga.  I tēnei wā nei kei Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa ahau e whai ana i te Tohu Kairangi (PhD) e, rangahau ana i te momo maringi o te uku tapuae ki roto i te rohe, takiwā o Te Āti Hāunui-a-Pāpārangi.


Whanganui upper river

Te Kitenga Whānui o taku Kaupapa Rangahau

Ia tau haere ake nei, nui atu i te rua miriona tone o te uku, paru horoia mai ai mai i ngā awaawa katoa o Aotearoa, inā waipuke taua awa. Ā, horoia atu ana, maringi atu ana ēnei uku, paru ki roto i a Hinemoana. Raru kino ana ngā whakawhitinga puna wai Māori mai i aua hekenga nui o te paru, me ngā ao whānui hononga ki te ōranga taiao, tūhono atu ēnei tūkino kia kūitia te hāpai ora mai o te whenua. Ka ngaro atu te ora o te whenua, whai tonu mai ko ngā tāheke waipuke kaha, whakapukepuke e pēhi kino nei i ngā whenua o Whanganui me ngā whenua huri i te motu.   Mo o tātau hāpori he uarā nui o tātau roto-moana me ngā awaawa, ka pēhia kinotia mai e ngā marangai tūkino, waipuke nui e mau ai te taha ohaoha.  He mea tika kia aro tātau ki ēnei momo ōranga whenua, kia aro tonu ki te whakaora i te oneone motuhake ake.  Ki te ora te whenua ka kaha te noho tahi mai o te pūtea.   He mea tika hoki me rangahau tonu tātau ki ngā hurihanga nui o ēnei pēhitanga uku, oneone paru ki runga o te taiao e ara mai nei ēnei tauritenga kino, ā, kia whai tonu atu te whakaaro me pēhea rā e mōhio ai tātau ki ēnei hekenga tūāhae kino o te uku, paru o te oneone haere ake nei ngā tau ki o tātau whenua papai.

Ko taku kaupapa rangahau mo taku tohu kairangi he whai atu i ngā āhuatanga takoto, rere mai o ngā oneone pūpū kino nei ka āta matapaki i ngā huarahi puputu ai ngā paru, ngā oneone nei ki roto i te takiwā o Whanganui mai kore e kitea tētahi momo māramatanga o te purere, puputu o ēnei uku, paru ki roto i ngā iaia whai oranga tonutanga o te whenua.  Nā runga anō i te āhua o te takoto o te whenua, ngā toka hautū o te whenua nangahu o te takiwā here o Whanganui, ko ngā toi mataora ritenga o te whenua e whakamahia ana kua kaha ake te pākarukaru mai o te whenua, maringi, tau noa ki roto i te puna wai me ngā awaawa. Ko te hīkoi, me whai atu i aua haurahi uku, oneone nei he tikanga mo te wetewete, tātari i ngā oneone puputu nei, e raru ai te takoto pai o te oneone ake, te kite atu i te rerekētanga hāngai ki te āhua o te takoto mai o aua huarahi uku, oneone e rere mai nei. Kia mārama ki ēnei hekenga ka tīka ka whakauru mai hoki te kohinga kōrero mātauranga Māori hai whakatinana, whakatipu, whakakaha i taku rangahau. Kia mārama pai ki ēnei hekenga nui o te uku me te paru e kitea ai he huarahi hai tohu māramatanga me pēhea ta tātau piri pono, tiaki pū i to tātau whenua ātaahua.  



Developing sediment fingerprinting techniques for the Whanganui catchment


A bit about me 


Ko Ruapehu te Maunga

Ko Whanganui te Awa

Ko Atihaunui a Pāpārangi te iwi

Ko Te Pooti te Marae

Ko Jacob Robinson tōku ingoa


I was born in the small town of Raetihi where my passion for understanding the many processes in nature started.  I remember that from a very early age I was always exploring the bush on my grandparents’ farm.  However, it wasn’t until witnessing the 1995-1996 eruptions of Mt Ruapehu from our house that I first thought about pursuing a career in science.  After leaving secondary school, I began working at the Tangiwai sawmill as a boiler operator.  I then became a fisherman working off the Whanganui coast.  At 26 I started my academic journey at Massey University where I studied Earth Science and then went on to complete an honours degree that investigated the history of lahar deposits on the south-western ring plain of Mt Ruapehu.  I am currently at Massey University undertaking PhD research investigating sediment tracing in the Whanganui catchment.


Whanganui upper river

An overview of my project 


Every year more than 200 million tonnes of sediment washes down New Zealand’s rivers and into the sea.  This is not only having a devastating impact on many fresh water ecosystems, but is also a major concern regarding the loss of land productivity.  Land instability and flooding are two further challenges that continue to have increasingly negative impacts within the Whanganui area as well as other parts of the country.  As a society that highly values its lakes and rivers, is affected by frequent storms and flood events and where the economy relies heavily on soil fertility, it is important that we strive to understand the underlying natural processes causing these issues and strive to understand how these processes may change into the future.

My project aims to investigate sediment fingerprinting techniques within the Whanganui catchment in order to gain insight into the movement of sediment through the system.  Due to the inherent geological and geomorphological character of the Whanganui catchment, anthropogenic influences such as land use change have greatly exacerbated rates of erosion leading to increased suspended sediment entering streams and rivers.  Sediment fingerprinting is a tool for evaluating sediment provenance, capable of directly quantifying sediment supply through differentiating sediment sources based on inherent geochemical signatures.  Understanding the spatial origin and movement of suspended sediment is an important step in guiding sustainable management of the natural resources within the Whanganui catchment.

Another important component of my research is the incorporation of Mātauranga Māori.  More than a millennium of occupation has embedded the Whanganui River and surrounding environment deep into the collective consciousness of Whanganui iwi.  A substantial environmental knowledge base has accrued during this time and is contained in the forms of recitation of whakapapa, stories, proverbs, sayings, songs, cultural activities and tribal expressions.  Incorporating mātauranga pūtaiao into this research presents an opportunity to study the catchment with a unique Māori perspective using methods that adhere to mātauranga ā-iwi principles and values. This indigenous knowledge base can provide holistic traditional and contemporary insights into the physical and spiritual phenomenon operating within the Whanganui catchment and will be a key component in developing effective research tools for this project and management strategies for the future.


Erosion around Retaruke River after a storm in March 2018

Next steps 


Some of the key issues I hope to investigate with this research include enhancing our understanding of the spatial origin of sediment through investigating sub-catchment suspended sediment contributions over various time frames. I also want to develop techniques to analyse historical sediment flux regimes before and after arrival of Māori and European settlers using geochemical techniques on flood deposits.  The incorporation of Mātauranga Māori is unique in this field of research and will ensure that the outcomes are relevant to tangata whenua and the wider community.  To date, work in this area of research is very limited in the Whanganui catchment and within New Zealand.  New approaches will be explored to expand upon the current literature relating to sediment fingerprinting techniques and sediment movement using the Whanganui catchment as a case study.  After the completion of my research project, I hope to continue working in the Whanganui region with my iwi to achieve our aspirations as kaitiaki of the environment.