Kaikōura community members gathered on the 10th of April to hear from researchers who have been working in the area since the 2016 quake.
The event, hosted by two government-funded National Science Challenges – Sustainable Seas and Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, saw seven multi-disciplinary researchers speak about their work.
Topics ranged from the physical recovery of marine ecosystems whose habitats were altered in the quake, to the recovery of Kaikōura’s hard-hit tourism industry and the quake’s impact on the Māori marine economy and ‘Blue economy’ in the area.
At the midway point the group gathered for refreshments, over which many lively conversations were had about the preceding talks.
After the break speakers resumed, with the first outlining her work understanding how community initiatives facilitated social recovery. This was followed by a talk on how we can ensure our visitors are prepared for future events, and finally preliminary findings from a study looking at tsunami evacuation after the quake.
At the end of each session the floor was opened for comments and questions, which resulted in interesting discussions between locals and researchers. In many cases those who attended provided valuable insight and information that will go on to inform this research in the future.
The event was widely appreciated by attendees, and demonstrated the value and importance of researchers sharing the work they are doing with the affected community and participants.
Kd Scattergood, Kaikōura District Council Emergency Management Officer said, “Over the last two years, we have been talking to a lot of researchers and sharing our experiences with them. It was great to see the fruit of all that work and I look forward to working with them to help the community better prepare in the future.”
If you would like to view one or all of the presentations, they are available in the video below.
Seismic exposure and impacts across New Zealand infrastructure networks
A bit about me
I was born in Germany, and I lived most of my life in Berlin. I received a bachelor and master’s degree in civil engineering from the Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin). However, I spent a semester abroad at the National Taiwan University, where I first heard about disaster management. Growing up in a country where flooding is the main natural hazard, I became fascinated by earthquakes, tsunamis and tropical storms. That is why I decided to move to New Zealand and to start my PhD at The University of Auckland in 2017. Although I miss my home country a lot, I am very grateful for the amazing opportunity to learn new things every day and to do what I am most passionate about.
In the first stage of my research, I am looking at different infrastructure networks across New Zealand such as State Highways and power transmission, and developing a geospatial framework to analyse the extent to which they are exposed to ground shaking, liquefaction, and landslides. This links simulation of ground shaking across a range of potential earthquakes with application of geospatial methods for liquefaction and landslides and the location of New Zealand’s national infrastructure networks. Geographic information systems (GIS) will help me to understand and analyse the data, to identify trends, and to present my results.
In the second stage of my research, I look at infrastructure criticality, which will allow me to classify the importance of a network (or a network section) to the economy and society. This includes identifying indicators to quantify criticality, considering dependencies and interdependencies across all networks, and understanding the role of infrastructure services before and after a disaster event. All these processes are GIS based in order to directly link exposure and impact.
Once complete the outcomes of this research can be used to support decision making processes regarding site specific assessment of key parts of the networks, infrastructure resilience investments, and rapid response and emergency planning.
At the moment, I am in the first half of my second year. I am still working on the seismic exposure assessment, and have just started working on network criticality. Once the geospatial methods have been developed, they can continue to be updated and improved as our knowledge across these hazards improves. There is a lot of ongoing research in this area that can be incorporated in the future. I will soon begin looking into a range of criticality aspects, including existing frameworks and inputs into these frameworks such as the movement of goods and people within the transport network, and the location and access to important facilities such as hospitals.
Given the range of approaches that could be taken, I hope to identify the influence of these on how infrastructure is classified and highlight any potential improvements in these approaches.
Workshop takes a closer look at the role of digitally empowered communities during disaster events
Social media has become a powerful tool for supporting collective community responses after a disaster event. It provides a platform through which official and unofficial information can be shared, and volunteer groups can be co-ordinated.
By way of example, crisis-affected communities are now able to collaboratively organise their own crisis information, such as in community-run disaster Facebook pages and crisis maps. Digitally empowered local citizens can now also rapidly mobilise into a surge capacity of on-the-ground volunteers, as was the case with the Student Volunteer Army. However, the dynamic nature of social media, and changes to how it is used by digitally empowered online communities and volunteer groups, poses a number of challenges for emergency management professionals.
In order to address these challenges, a Social Media and Digital Communities workshop was held on Friday 22 March 2019 at the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO). The workshop was designed and led by Dr Abi Beatson, who heads the Emerging Technologies research project for Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. The workshop provided an opportunity for emergency management professionals to become acquainted with some of the latest research into the use of social media by crisis-affected communities, and to discuss their experiences and challenges with others in their field.
As Dr Beatson explains, “A central objective of the workshop was to provide emergency management professionals with a hazard-event scenario that facilitated discussion around the expected social media and digital volunteer responses during a disaster event. The scenario event decided upon was a Magnitude 7.5 earthquake near Milford Sound. This earthquake scenario facilitated discussion around the expected community responses on Twitter, and on community-led Facebook pages. It also supported discussion around the potential impact of the use of Facebook Live during this type of disaster event, and included rapidly emerging technologies such as Zello, and Facebook Disaster Maps. The earthquake scenario also included discussion around the potential responses from digitally empowered volunteer groups, such as the Student Volunteer Army, and from international crisis mapping communities. We also included the deployment of crowdsourcing platforms – it ended up that there was a lot to talk about.”
Those attending the workshop included representatives from the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM), GNS Science, Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO), Wellington City Council (WCC), Massey University, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), University of Canterbury, Canterbury CDEM Group, and the Waimakariri District Council. A panel was also created to support the development of the hazard-event scenario, including panel members from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Eagle Technology, and various CDEM Groups.
The workshop utilised Dr Beatson’s research concerning the use of social media to support resilient capabilities within a crisis-affected community. As she explains, “The workshop was an important next step in my work – getting my research off the paper it was written on, and turned into a practical resource for emergency professionals.”
If you would like more information about this workshop, or are interested in attending one yourself, please contact Dr Abi Beatson at email@example.com.
We speak with Christina Hanna, a PhD student in our Governance programme who is concerned with sustainability and combatting climate change both in her research, and personal life.
Earth Hour is a global grassroots movement where millions of people around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. Why does sustainability matter to you?
Sustainability is an elusive concept, but it is a necessary, continual process of resolving conflicts between equity and social justice, environmental protection, and economic development. For me, a fundamental concern driving the sustainability imperative is that humans no longer live within the limits of Earth’s biocapacity, creating significant challenges for the future, which we must face up to and actively seek solutions for. Aldo Leopold once said: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Human production and consumption behaviours have greatly exploited natural resources, and we are beginning to recognise the significant impacts of transforming the social-ecological system we depend on.
When did sustainable living become a priority for you?
I was lucky to have grown up on a blueberry farm with a family very aware of and interested in environmental sustainability, with a love for New Zealand’s native species and great outdoors. Studying Environmental Planning at Waikato University cemented my interest in holistic sustainability, and I began to consider my own impact more consciously.
What are some of the things you do at home to reduce your impact?
Over the years I have become more aware of individual impacts, and the ability to make positive change through collective action. My husband and I do our best to live a ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle, where we:
Avoid waste to landfill by shopping with re-usable containers at bulk stores,
Grow our own, and purchase additional ‘naked’ fruit and veg from our local farmers,
Say no to single-use cups, cutlery, straws, plastic household items etc
Use all natural, plastic free household cleaners and beauty items (solid soap, facewash and shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable floss, etc)
Avoid food waste and compost any scraps
These actions take a little time and consciousness to become a habit, but they are a great start to reducing reliance on fossil fuels (plastic), reducing food miles, increasing food resilience, eating natural, wholefoods, and keeping the landfill less-full. In recognition of the need for ethical and sustainable action, we also ‘consciously consume’ by:
Avoiding fast fashion, purchasing clothing only when absolutely needed and following the ‘Buyerarchy of Needs’: Use what you have, borrow, swap, thrift, repair, make, and then buy. Any new clothing purchased is researched to ensure it has been ethically produced and made with organic materials, and preferably natural dyes.
Reducing emissions; I am lucky to work from home so I travel very little, and run/bike into town to do errands. When travelling by car I drive a hybrid, and offset air travel emissions, recognising that avoidance/reduction is the best option
Eating a predominantly plant-based diet
Practicing minimalism; living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions
Your PhD research is related to climate change too, can you tell us about that?
My PhD is focused on risk reduction and climate change adaptation via managed retreat; the strategic relocation of people, assets and activities away from harm. Due to extreme events, the projected impacts of climate change, and trends in urbanisation, more people are exposed to natural hazard and climate risks in the 21st century. We can protect communities against some perils in the short to medium term, for example, by building seawalls and improving early warnings. However, longer-term resilience and sustainability goals are more likely to be achieved if we design with nature. Managed retreat is part of the design with nature approach that can reduce natural hazard risk and build community resilience and sustainability. It’s contentious at present due to significant institutional barriers, but it will be required in some areas.
Managed retreat is a difficult thing for a community to commit to – is it worth it?
Managed retreat can be applied to a wide range of natural hazard and climate change risks. Where institutional enablers are in place, it can be an advantageous adaptation technique to avoid exposure to life and infrastructure, increase resilience of communities, protect environmental and amenity values, and provide a cost effective option for hazard management, with avoidance of future maintenance and emergency management expenses. However, in terms of the impact on people and communities, detachment from place is a significant undertaking, requiring immense care, support, sensitivity, robust engagement, empowerment, and time. My research has found that institutional capacity building is required to deliver effective and equitable managed retreat in New Zealand.
Do you think that New Zealanders are starting to consider sea-level rise as a factor when they’re deciding where to buy a house?
Absolutely, but there is a big difference between considering SLR and actively seeking data, testing out coastal inundation tools and making long-term decisions.
Celebrating Earth Hour and turning off your lights from 8:30-9:30pm on the 30th of March is a good way to start taking action, how else can people reduce their impact?
Earth Hour is a good reminder to be more conscious of your daily actions, and to start thinking about the wider reach of your impact, both environmentally and socially. Empathy and respect towards all beings, and the Earth that sustains us will go a long way. We have strength in numbers, and in unity. Kia Kaha NZ.
I was born in Auckland but spent ten of my early years growing up in Australia (time shared between Sydney and Perth). During my time in Australia I developed a passion for cricket which has stayed with me ever since. My family moved back to Auckland in early 2007, and I completed high school there. Spending time in these different places grew my interest in geology and physical geography. These interests ultimately provided the motivation to complete my BSc at The University of Auckland in Earth Sciences. While completing my BSc, I developed a strong interest in coastal processes and the management of these dynamic environments.
My honours year (also at The University of Auckland) focussed on the coast, with my dissertation research investigating reflected wave energy following impacting with coastal cliffs. In May 2018, a friend got in touch with me about an MSc opportunity in Wellington, looking into managed retreat of coastal communities. This opportunity came about at the perfect time as I was already considering undertaking my MSc research in the following year. I applied, and began my research in July 2018 here in Wellington.
The risk that coastal hazards pose to coastal communities will increase as sea levels continue to rise. As a result, we need to identify options that enable these communities to adapt to these increased risks. Managed retreat is one of these options. While managed retreat is the only strategy that completely eliminates coastal hazard risk (as it involves the relocation of communities inland from the coast), it is not currently well understood. My research aims to build understanding of managed retreat so it can be more readily considered as a coastal adaptation option.
My research identifies the components of managed retreat, and addresses how these components might be sequenced in time to respond to increasing coastal hazard risk. It also provides guidance for costing managed retreat as a strategy within an economic framework. The framework focusses on the valuation of the costs of the different components.
My work involves combining information on the use of managed retreat with the valuation of climate change adaptation options. I then use this insight to form typologies for developing a managed retreat strategy. These typologies are being tested in semi-structured discussions with practitioners working in the climate change adaptation space. My research is part of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges ‘Living at the Edge’ programme which is developing tools to support communities living in highly vulnerable coastal settings.
Currently, I am finalising the component valuation methodology ahead of having discussions to test the findings. Once these findings have been discussed with relevant informants, I will begin to write up the remainder of my findings. My thesis is due to be handed in during July. The plan following this is to head back to Auckland to spend some time with my family while participating in preseason training ahead of the cricket season with the Hibiscus Coast Cricket Club. I also hope to find employment working in the coastal space.
After 15 years overseas involved in personal adventure travel, it was really easy to distil what I enjoyed about culture, people, and place. My journeys took me from Tibet to the Northern Territory, across India and South East Asia and many places besides. I returned to Aotearoa in 2003 where these ideas were crafted into a degree in socio-cultural geography.
Honing in on the human dimensions of climate change and disaster impacts, led me to examine post-disaster Christchurch as a PhD topic. Specifically, I paid attention to the relocation experiences of Cantabrians who moved up to the Waikato. Working closely with families who faced the double trauma of not only the earthquakes, but also leaving the city they loved, sparked an interest in resilience.
I am also passionate about furthering knowledge in a regional university and understanding climate and rural spaces. I currently live on the same road as Hobbiton, a small rural community near Lake Karapiro, and have begun investigating rural resilience to weather impacts at the local farm scale.
I was invited on to the National Science Challenge as a postdoctoral researcher to examine conceptual thinking behind governance and the politics of operationalising resilience. It was a big learning curve when examining key strategies such as the Rockefeller 100RC Resilience Framework in Wellington and Christchurch. However, my geographical background has proven useful when advocating for contextual analysis of place(s) and the possible drawbacks of utilising national frameworks as a one-size fits all approach to resilience.
My daily work at the moment is talking with key actors working with infrastructure (utilities) resilience, organisational resilience, community development approaches to resilience, and resilience to climate change/natural hazards. These diverse conversations are proving to be rich when working toward providing data. Robust discussion centres on which types of resilience projects are being delivered in Aotearoa and the links to their governance structures which may enable or constrain resilience outcomes.
Understanding community evacuation dynamics following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and tsunami
A bit about me
My passion for learning about multi-hazard disaster risk and resilience began when I was nearing the end of my undergraduate degree in physical geography at the University of Canterbury. Having experienced the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES), I wanted to explore how disasters such as the CES and the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake impact people and places, and how we can build resilience into communities so that they are better prepared for future hazard events. This led me to enrol in the Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR) programme at the University of Canterbury.
Since completing my master’s I have had exciting opportunities to apply the wide range of skills I learnt during the MDRR programme. In 2018 I worked at GNS Science as a research assistant on the RiskScape project. Since finishing that summer internship at GNS, I have spent the last year working as a graduate advisor in the Hazard Risk Management team at the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, whilst working on my thesis project.
I also love pizza, wine and puppies.
My project was scoped and requested by Environment Canterbury and Kaikōura District Council Emergency Management as part of ongoing collaborative research supporting recovery in the Kaikōura District following the 2016 earthquakes. I have the awesome opportunity to work with local emergency management, hazard analysts and the Kaikōura community to better understand evacuation dynamics of the tsunami risk which followed the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and tsunami.
The aims of my research are to:
Understand the risk to population and relevant assets exposed to tsunami hazard in Kaikōura
Develop an optimal evacuation model for emergency managers and the Kaikōura community
Utilise evacuation modelling to inform evacuation decision-making in planning and practice
The end goal of my project is to inform development of an optimal tsunami evacuation plan for emergency management and the Kaikōura community using agent-based modelling. Agent-based modelling will allow me to apply specific ‘rules’, based on information provided by the community, to represent realistic evacuation behaviour that was experienced during the 2016 Kaikōura event. I hope my research will increase community readiness and response and ensure safe and efficient evacuations for future tsunami hazards.
My project is a collaboration between the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Rural research programme, and a Natural Hazards Research Platform project called ‘Quicker and safer tsunami evacuations through agent-based modelling’, led by William Power.
Recently, I asked for the community’s help to understand their evacuation response and tsunami preparedness. I distributed 1000 surveys around the Kaikōura township and am now processing the amazing response. Once I have finished processing the surveys I will use the information provided by the community to help inform the tsunami evacuation model. My project is due to be completed in 2020.
The awesome supervision team helping me on this project are: Assoc Prof Tom Wilson (UC), Dr Matthew Hughes (UC) and Dr Sarah Beaven (UC), with support from ECan, Kaikōura District Council Civil Defence and GNS Science.
Tourism and food security research in post-quake Kaikōura
Gradon Diprose is one of the Resilience Challenge’s newest researchers. He started at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research in February 2019 and has jumped straight into the RNC – Rural workstream.
Gradon grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato, and later moved to Raglan, so appreciates the importance of food production and tourism for rural and small town communities around Aotearoa. With a background in resource and environmental planning and human geography, Gradon is particularly interested in how people come together around shared concerns to create more sustainable communities.
He’s currently working alongside Nick Cradock-Henry and Joanna Fountain (Lincoln University) in Kaikōura and North Canterbury focusing on the dynamics of rural disaster response strategies and recovery trajectories. This research has two main foci – tourism disaster response and recovery, and enhancing food security and food networks.
The work on tourism disaster response and recovery includes a recent survey (February 2019) which collected data on over 500 visitors to Kaikōura. The survey asked about their motivations to visit the region, decision-making processes, and participation or interest in a range of existing and proposed activities in the town and surrounding area. This information will be used to inform future tourism planning and regional economic development. The survey also explored tourists’ understanding and preparedness for natural hazards, their awareness of appropriate responses, and their expectations of host communities during and after such events. The results will provide valuable insights for other rural tourism destinations throughout New Zealand, and highlights the need to consider international and domestic visitors in emergency preparedness and planning.
Gradon is also contributing to work on issues relating to regional food security and resilience in Kaikōura and North Canterbury. This workstream is investigating the emergence of new opportunities to build and strengthen local food networks for greater resilience at the community level including food tourism and rural supply chains. Food tourism is seen as a way to strengthen local networks of producers, as demand for local food products and experiences from tourists will help to ensure their economic sustainability. The findings so far suggest that having a diverse range of locally produced food can be important for a community in a natural disaster or extreme weather event, while also reducing vulnerability to international price fluctuations, shifting market demand and supply chain changes.
You can hear more about both of these pieces of research in this recent interview on RNZ with Rural’s Dr Joanna Fountain.
Modelling transient population exposure to disaster risk
A bit about me
I proudly hail from Otago, where my family grows fruit just outside of Cromwell. I completed an undergraduate BSc in Geology and Geography at the University of Otago in 2013. While studying, I helped NZ Red Cross out a bit through training and leading a youth emergency preparedness program. I also held roles in disaster response, youth governance and was eventually elected onto their National Board in 2012, a position I held until last year.
Following completion of my degree, I went and worked for a couple of different engineering consultancies mainly in geospatial and environmental management roles. After five years of this, I decided to return part-time and complete a Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR) here at the University of Canterbury. I saw the field of disaster risk reduction as a nice union of my technical skills, my growing governance ability, and some of the important work Red Cross was doing following the Kaikōura and Christchurch earthquakes.
Following the completion of my MDRR I decided to move to a PhD program full time. When I am not at university you can either find me working part-time for Pattle Delamore Partners leading their Christchurch geospatial work group or volunteering with a local club skifield.
My research project is tackling a significant challenge faced by New Zealand; that is understanding the exposure of our ‘transient’ visitors to disaster risk as they travel around the country. Significant decisions are often made by government stakeholders to reduce this exposure. However, we have very limited models available to understand how visitors move through New Zealand in time and space. I am aiming to build on and improve these models using big data and geospatial modelling.
This project has come as a direct outcome of the work undertaken by Project AF8, which recognised that the next step in improving New Zealand’s disaster risk modelling was to develop more dynamic ways to assess population exposure to disaster risk. My project aims to develop new, novel indicators to build a model which better characterises transient population movements in time and space.
Further disaster risk assessments will be undertaken using this model at two scales; South Island-wide, and then a high-risk case study area (i.e. Queenstown). Given the relationship between visitor flows, infrastructure demand and likely impact on rural communities, this project has cross-cutting objectives which fit within both the Resilience Challenge’s Rural and Infrastructure research programmes.
My PhD research is just kicking off. The initial phases I have been working on include undertaking a systematic literature review of how transient populations are included in disaster risk modelling internationally, and understanding how decision makers are currently using big data sources to understand visitor population exposure to disaster risk. Through using both of these and collaborating with stakeholders, I am working to understand the scale and accuracy of information needed to make informed decisions.
We have also been working with proof of concept geospatial modelling, applying data sources such as infrastructure load and social media to understand how well various sources characterise populations.
Critical to the success of this project is the close collaboration with stakeholders, be it decision makers or data providers. I have really enjoyed working closely with stakeholder groups in these initial stages as we collectively realise the potential of this project.
I was born and raised in Iraq with three other siblings. My father is an electrical engineer and his passion for what he is doing had a great impact on me. This made me think seriously about following the same path. Great support from my family and lots of hard work culminated with me getting a BSc degree in electrical engineering with honors. As a result of this success I was awarded a scholarship to finish my master’s degree at Cardiff University in the UK.
My passion for improving the power network led to me passing with distinction and being awarded the Npower Energy challenge award for the best master’s project in Electrical Energy Systems. These fruitful gains led me finally to New Zealand where I got a scholarship from The University of Auckland to finish my Ph.D. in developing a new protection algorithm to improve the reliability of the power system. Between graduating from university and coming to New Zealand, I worked for seven years in the industry and two other years in teaching.
During my first year at The University of Auckland I participated in many conferences as a researcher or as an organizing committee member. The most prominent of these was the industrial conference EEA2018, where I received the best paper award for introducing an innovative method to protect power transmission lines. I was also on the organizing committee for AUPEC 2018, the top conference in power engineering in Australia, South East Asia and New Zealand.
As electricity has become an inseparable part of everyday life, it has become necessary to highlight the importance of improving the performance of New Zealand’s power grid. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes have severely impacted our electricity supply in recent years. These power outages can last for days or even months after an event, as happened in the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquake where part of the grid’s utilities was damaged.
My Ph.D. research focuses on building a new protection algorithm that will protect the power system transmission lines, particularly under the high penetration of renewable energy resources. I’m part of Associated Professor Nirmal Nair’s team, which is responsible for improving the resilience of New Zealand’s power networks. The team’s work was highlighted in this recent news story. Because of my background, Assoc Prof Nair involved me in the West Coast Resilience Project to help with planning for a reliable microgrid. A microgrid is a small power network with small capacity generators that can supply a specific area with power independently from the main power network. These microgrids rely mostly on renewable resources, and are useful during a disaster when the main power network is compromised. A major disaster like the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquake can cause damage to the main grid’s facilities, meaning that distribution substations can’t be provided with power. This can result in big parts of the city being isolated without power. The location of the microgrid’s generators has been carefully planned based on geological studies offered by the civil engineering group in the project. My contribution to the project is to find answers to the following questions:
How reliable is the existing protection scheme in detecting faults and isolating them from the healthy parts of the grid?
What are the constraints that prevent these protection devices from operating properly?
What changes are required to ensure proper operation?
I am currently working on generating a test for the protection scheme of the islanded network. I want to understand how the protection relays communicate with each other under different islanded scenarios. I’m using the real-time simulator OPAL-RT, and Omicron to get a realistic result which will help me understand what protection relays need to operate accurately. This is closely tied to my work developing the new protection algorithm which provides a reliable protection scheme and hence resilient network.
I am excited about the outcome of this research, as it has the potential to have a great impact on keeping New Zealand’s power network stable, reliable and secure in the long term. It is especially relevant with our move to a low carbon future network, due to New Zealand being so dependent on renewable energy resources. I am looking forward to working with other researchers to develop an energy-communication system in New Zealand that is resilient following large-scale natural disasters, and to extend those learnings to other electricity networks.