Aotearoa New Zealand’s
changing coastline

 


23/6/20
By Emma Ryan, Mark Dickson and Murray Ford

 

 

Kings beach, Whananaki, credit: Mark Dickson

In partnership with Northland Regional Council, researchers within the Coastal programme have been busy mapping Northland’s shorelines using historical imagery to explore patterns of coastal erosion, accretion and stability. Starting in Northland, this is the first step in our national-scale project that aims to map and understand coastal change over the past 70 years throughout the entire country.

 

Limitations with existing data collection practices make it difficult for scientists and coastal managers to understand patterns and drivers of coastal change around New Zealand and implement relevant management options. Through the ‘New Zealand’s Changing Coastline’ project we aim to fundamentally transform New Zealand’s shoreline change detection from small-scale, sporadic and manual monitoring to national-scale, semi-automated analyses in near real time. This means that councils will have access to consistent, up-to-date shoreline change data that can be meaningfully used in decision making around management and adaptation options.

 

The new datasets will also facilitate new research into understanding the multiple drivers of shoreline change (e.g. distinguishing between the effects of human modification of the environment, natural changes in sediment supply, sea-level change, and changes in coastal vegetation). The historical imagery and shoreline change datasets also hold value in furthering our understanding of impacts of coastal change on Māori sites of signifiance at the coast, including pā, marae and urupa.

 

In 2019 we engaged with LINZ and began a programme to compile historical, mapping-quality, aerial photographs of New Zealand’s coast. Led by Mark Dickson and Murray Ford, a team of 4 coastal scientists, supported by 10 research assistants at the University of Auckland, have developed and implemented detailed and consistent protocols for image acquisition, georectification, and shoreline mapping, with the overall goal of producing a nation-wide database of historical shoreline data for open-coast soft sedimentary beaches (>50 m in length). We are approximately half-way to completing georectification and mapping of Northland’s shorelines, with the view to completing Northland by August. From there, we will tackle the rest of the country, making use of existing council shoreline datasets if mapping methodologies are comparable.

 

In addition to the historical imagery data, we are making use of recent advances in Earth Observation (EO) satellite imagery that provide new opportunities to transform the way coastal change is assessed. The proliferation of commercial and government EO satellites provides opportunities to examine coastal change at spatial and temporal scale previously inaccessible to researchers. Led by Murray Ford, together with PhD student Ben Collings, we are developing new geospatial methods within a cloud computing framework for detecting and analysing high-frequency coastal change over the past twenty years using imagery from Landsat and Sentinel 2 satellites, along with commercial satellites. Machine-learning and edge detection algorithms will be used to statistically determine the shoreline and map national-scale coastal change.

 

Acknowledgements: This research is supported in different ways by Northland Regional Council, LINZ, the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge and the University of Auckland. 

 
Student Profile: Hamed Khatibi

 


Smart and Resilient Cities

 

 

 

A bit about me 

 

I was born and raised in Damghan city, which was the capital of Iran during the Parthian Empire. Damghan has many ancient monuments and is a tourist attraction. The city is also famous for its trade in pistachios and ‘kaghazi’ almonds with very thin shells.

At high school I focused on the mathematics and physics stream. Growing up with my profound interest in engineering science, I pursued undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, and as a fresh graduate, I joined a construction company as a site engineer in Iran. Since I was looking forward to broadening my knowledge and experiences, I decided to pursue my masters studies abroad.

I graduated in Master of Structural Engineering and Construction program from University Putra Malaysia.  Upon completion of my masters, I started working as a research assistant and a lecturer in Malaysia. I spent four years as a research assistant at the University of Malaya with eight patents and seven publications, and a further four years at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology as a Faculty coordinator and lecturer; teaching undergraduate students, leading the faculty team and providing the full range of student services.

I decided to push myself forward to new experiences and challenges by continuing my studies at PhD level. I started my research at the University of Auckland under the supervision of Professor Suzanne Wilkinson in the broad area of Smart and Resilient Cities, and how these two notions can be compiled. I believe that my interdisciplinary and international background, along with Suzanne’s supervision, will allow me to complete this large-scale project effectively.

 

My project

 

The research aims to propose novel frameworks that could establish and further the idea that resilience could support urban ‘smartness,’ a term that is widely argued as not being easily measured nor quantifiably assessed. While the smart city concept relies on the roll-out of technology to improve urban standards, the idea of resilience prepares the city against any catastrophic events allowing it to absorb, adapt and transform external pressures and improve public safety.

Smart city and urban resilience are both contemporary concepts that evolved to further sustain urban livelihoods, by offering strategic solutions to issues arising from population growth and human activities. Smart cities use technological means to improve city services and enhance the urban system, resulting in the city’s resiliency, which simultaneously determines urban sustainability.

 

At the International Invention & Innovation Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2015

 

Next steps

 

I am in the first year of my PhD studies. Based on discussions with my supervisor Suzanne, I plan to publish four journal papers in the first year of study by using the proposed frameworks and hypothetical cases. Later on, a comprehensive indicator bank for Smart and Resilient Cities will be proposed and the novel frameworks will be examined in real cities like Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto and Vancouver.

 

Urban theme

 

 

 

 

Urban Resilience Innovation & Collaboration Hub

 

 

8/6/2020

It is our pleasure to announce the call for applications for the newly established Urban Resilience Innovation & Collaboration Hub. The purpose of the fund is to support research and research-related activities that seek to promote urban resilience in New Zealand. The fund will provide up to $10,000 (excluding GST) to successful applicants for projects that add value to the existing work within the Urban Theme of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge.

We welcome proposals for research projects, engagement activities enabling partnerships, activities that facilitate implementation and impact of urban resilience research, or projects that incorporate any combination of the above.

Any researcher or research stakeholder or partner with an interest in urban resilience can apply. We particularly encourage applications from the emergency management sector and from Māori and/or Pasifika researchers and research partners.

Applications close on Friday 17 July 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by 7 August 2020 and projects will commence from September 2020. Projects can run for up to two years.  

Read more >

 

Climate change and ‘two waters’ infrastructure in Petone

 


25/5/20
By Rick Kool

 

From the Netherlands to Petone…

I’m originally from the Netherlands where a large part of the country is under sea level, so water has always been an important part of my life. I studied my Civil Engineering degree in the southwest delta of the Netherlands, well known for their delta works. During this time I got involved in nature-based solutions and through projects in Southeast Asia learned about the continuously increasing challenges faced due to climate change.

I studied for my Masters in Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, and when researching a MSc thesis project I found the Resilience Challenge, and the extensive research on New Zealand’s coastal hazards. Realizing I was more interested in the application of coastal engineering principles as part of an integrated strategy, especially in the context of climate change, I read about the concept of Dynamic Adaptive Pathway Planning (DAPP). Thanks to the efforts of Dr Judy Lawrence and Dr Rob Bell we made arrangements for me to carry out my thesis project in New Zealand. This provided me with a unique opportunity to combine my technical knowledge relating to climate change adaptation of infrastructure, with a more long term, scenario-based planning perspective.

 

Two waters infrastructure in Petone, Lower Hutt

The research investigated the retreat of ‘two waters’ infrastructure (wastewater and stormwater) by using a DAPP approach to frame retreat over different sea level rise increments. The study area was Petone in Lower Hutt, where drainage infrastructure is increasingly facing climate change induced hazards due to sea level rise and increased frequency of heavy rainfall events. This raises the issue of how local government can maintain levels of service for the two waters as the impacts of climate change worsen over the coming decades and beyond.

Using a DAPP approach to frame the retreat of two waters we were able to conceptualize how this could be managed spatially across the study area. In order to investigate two water infrastructure exposure in the area and consider possible adaptation options to maintain levels of service, we organized a workshop with various experts.

Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) options were integrated into adaptation portfolios to extend retreat thresholds and create amenity for the community by repurposing the area after retreat is initiated. These WSUD options usually require more space and could therefore be implemented post retreat. This scenario-based, spatially phased out approach to two water infrastructure retreat resulted in a ‘framework’ where the methodology used in this study is outlined for future use to approach retreat of two water infrastructure in a coastal setting.

 

The study area of Petone, Lower Hutt

 

 

Further Steps:

After graduating the plan was to travel in my van around New Zealand. However upon finishing my thesis the COVID situation escalated. Luckily enough I was offered a place to stay in Castlepoint with a friendly local family for the isolation period, and I’m now looking forward to traveling, surfing and experiencing more of this beautiful country.

 

Acknowledgements:

The research would not have turned out the same way without the support of the stakeholders. Therefore a big thanks to the people at Wellington Water and NIWA, and to my supervisors Judy Lawrence, Rob Bell and Martin Drews and to the Resilience National Science Challenge for supporting the research.

 

Student Profile: Maddie Brown

 


Exploring Vegetation Controls on Foredunes And Their Response to Climate Change

 

 

 

A bit about me 

Maddie carrying out fieldwork at St Kilda Beach, Dunedin

 

Summer for most Australians is usually described as days by the beach, snags on the barbie, and unforgiving sunburns. For me, this is the best way to spend summer, I love being at the beach with the sand between my toes and heading out into the water for a swim. I can safely say that this influenced my love for coastal science.

I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do out of high school, but science was of interest to me and I loved to solve puzzles. I studied Geology at the University of Melbourne and completed an honours year in Paleoclimatology. I also spent a semester abroad at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. During my honours year I was able to participate in a CAPSTAN voyage, an opportunity to spend time on a marine research vessel, the RV Investigator. The time I spent on the ship and the people I met inspired me to continue my studies. I discovered I preferred fieldwork on a beach looking at sand, compared to the countryside looking at rocks, so decided to jump across to geography to better understand the processes that affect our coastlines.

Moving to Dunedin is certainly a lot colder than my home in Melbourne, but it hasn’t deterred me from keeping my water hobbies; life saving, waterpolo, and skiing (frozen water is still water). When I’m not in water or at the beach, I’ll be listening to motion picture soundtracks and will happily spend hours discussing the greatest composers of all time (John Williams and Hans Zimmer).

 

My project

 

The aim of my PhD is to discover how foredunes respond to sea level rise, specifically looking at how vegetation cover can affect this process. I aim to provide a conceptual model to then be able to provide recommendations for coastal management and hazard mitigation.

Currently I’m working on creating a map of New Zealand that categorises how dense vegetation is on foredunes and which species is dominate. While doing this I am also locating areas of note that may become fieldwork sites for further experimentation. I plan to undertake experiments in a variety of vegetated foredunes as the dune structure is highly dependent on the species present. I will focus on ammophila arenaria, spinifex sericeus, and ficinia spiralis as they are the most common sand binding species throughout New Zealand foredunes. Each species has varying biological structures, trapping sediment in different ways.

My research fits under the RNC2 Coastal theme to assist the understanding of New Zealand’s coastal change as well providing data to support projections of future shoreline change.

 

On holiday at the Grand Canyon, USA

 

Next steps

 

The expected outcome of my work is to create a database to assist the prediction of coastline change for New Zealand’s future. This will help locate areas of erosion with higher priority compared to those that are in a relatively stable condition. I hope that my research will benefit all those like me who enjoy spending time at the beach, and to make it possible for future generations to do the same.

 

Student Profile: Ben Collings

 

Identifying coastal change at the national scale in New Zealand through the application of remote sensing data and techniques

 

 

 

A bit about me 

 

I’m from the UK and grew up outside a small town called Fordingbridge on the edge of The New Forest, a beautiful national park in southern England not far from the coast. I have always loved the outdoors and outdoor pursuits; surfing, white-water kayaking, and mountain-biking to name a few. I believe that my passion to pursue a life outdoors led to a keen interest in geography while at school and a thirst for travel to explore and enjoy the natural world.

After a few years travelling I returned to the UK to study physical geography at Aberystwyth University, Wales. It was here that I discovered the fascinating discipline of GIS and remote sensing and decided to continue my studies to complete a Masters. I was intrigued by the volumes of remote sensing data available (especially from satellites) that can be leveraged via computer processing to help solve environmental problems at local to global scales. Whilst completing my Master’s thesis I stumbled across an advert for the changing coastlines PhD project with the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. I have always wanted to come to New Zealand. It is regarded as one of the world’s best destinations for white-water kayaking and mountain-biking! This opportunity presented the chance to combine both my passion for the outdoors and my remote sensing skills to contribute to the Resilience National Science Challenge.

 

My project

 

Anthropogenic climate change has led to acceleration of sea level rise and increases in the frequency and magnitude of storms. Changes in these boundary conditions will influence coastal environments and associated coastal risk. A robust understanding of coastal change, ideally at the national scale, is fundamental to identify regions and communities exposed to dynamic coastal hazards.

Satellite remote sensing provides data at temporal and spatial resolutions that are appropriate for change analyses of coastal environments at local to global scales. The growth of computer processing power and increased availability of satellite data have led to a plethora of global and regional studies that aim to better understand how coastlines and shorelines are changing around the world. In the case of New Zealand this is complicated by the nature and variability of the coastal setting. Differences between volcanic black sand beaches on the west coast and pristine white sand beaches on the east coast, for instance, present challenges.

The aim of this project is the development of techniques to assess how New Zealand’s coastlines are changing in response to alterations in boundary conditions. To achieve this time-series of satellite remote sensing data and semi-automated image classification/processing techniques will be applied to identify coastal features (e.g. the shoreline or the seaward edge of dune vegetation) and analyse how these are changing through time.

This work will feed into project 1 of the coastal theme of the Resilience Challenge, New Zealand’s changing coastline, with the desired outcome of providing data that indicates hotspots of change throughout New Zealand.

 

 

Next steps

 

My PhD is in its early stages. This includes the investigation of current methods that have leveraged satellite data to observe coastal change in other regions of the world to see how they can be applied to coastal environments in New Zealand. This will ascertain the challenges that must be overcome to develop a framework that works for the variety of coastal environments in New Zealand.

For the final outcomes of the project the development of an automated framework that can indicate coastal change throughout New Zealand would provide instrumental data that can inform effective management strategies to build resilience in vulnerable coastal communities in New Zealand.

 

 

Student profile: Lucia Danzi

 


 

Embarking on a PhD in Covid-19 lockdown

 

 

 

Ciao! My name is Lucia and I’m from Verona, Italy.  

It’s the beginning of spring here, and people usually go out to enjoy the nice weather but these days it’s strangely quiet, like in many places around the world. I’m lucky enough to live in a house with a big garden so there’s a lot of space for all of us, and that’s good because there’s nine people in my “bubble”!

I live with my grandparents and siblings and we take care of each other, especially during these challenging times. Of course, it’s not always easy, but we are quite united so it helps a lot. I believe it’s now more important than ever to be kind to each other and remember we are not alone in this. I have my “home office” from where I work and I’ve set myself a good routine that includes taking breaks in the garden, exercise in the evening and ticking off my books list.

 

At the end of this month I should have been on my way to New Zealand to start my PhD on tourism, emergency management and rural disaster resilience, within the Rural research programme. But, as for many of us, the pandemic has changed my plans and I’m starting remotely instead, while waiting for the new exciting beginning! The aim of the PhD is to develop an integrated approach that includes tourism stakeholders and emergency managers, is based on collaboration and communication as resilience tools, can be adopted by small-sized tourism businesses and has been tested for New Zealand rural communities. The project will apply mixed methods, among which literature reviews, surveys, qualitative interviews, vulnerability assessments, workshops and focus groups. I’ll do the project development and the literature review from home, keeping in contact with my supervisors through regular virtual meetings
 

Andrà tutto bene – everything will be ok

 

A bit about me 

With a background in languages and tourism economics and management, I am particularly interested in how tourism can be developed in a sustainable way, acting as a tool to meet societal and environmental challenges. I have spent the last year working as a postgraduate scholar with the Centre for Advanced Studies in Tourism (CAST) in Rimini, Italy, on a project for the regeneration of the Regional Park of Corno alle Scale in the Italian Appennines. I was interviewing tourists and talking to stakeholders to understand their awareness of climate change impacts as well as their vision on possible alternatives for tourism development in the park.

As I have learned when completing my master’s thesis on climate change impacts and adaptation in tourism, well-developed adaptation and risk reduction policies are key for reaching sustainability. When I was looking for a PhD to develop my research skills, I knew I wanted to explore the disaster risk and resilience topic more, and find something that could link my passion for nature and for working closely with stakeholders. Also, I wanted to work on something that could have practical applications and be useful for society. This led me to the doctoral research project scoped by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges which I hope will help to understand how the tourism sector and emergency management can work more effectively in New Zealand.

 

Director’s update: COVID-19 and natural hazard resilience

 

 


 

20/3/2020
By Richard Smith, Resilience Challenge Director 

 

 

 

  

 

We in Aotearoa New Zealand are all too familiar with natural hazard events like earthquakes and floods – the sudden disruption to communities and livelihoods, and the physical damage to homes, buildings, infrastructure and critical services. The slow onset, unseen and uncertain nature of the COVID-19 threat is disorienting. Perhaps like me you are switching between quiet confidence, given the positive local responses and the success of simple actions like basic hygiene, and some anxiety about the uncertain future, driven by concern for vulnerable family members, the already severe economic consequences, and the international factors beyond our control.
 
In this context of high uncertainty, it is not surprising we’ve seen people attempting to prepare through securing food and other resources. Another element adding to the uncertainty is the uniquely global nature of the virus, compared to even the most devasting earthquake or mega-tsunami. We’re being bombarded by conflicting reports of impacts and responses from around the world which can be overwhelming and psychologically harmful. Knowing when to switch off the news and notifications is as important as staying reliably informed!     
 
Sociological research since the 1950s is clear. Panic and the breakdown of society makes for dramatic movie storylines but is NOT the usual human response. While it might seem as though self-isolation and physical distancing runs counter to the community connectedness that is critical for disaster resilience, we are seeing essential ‘social capital’ emerge in a range of ways. Self-isolation support groups are popping up on Facebook, and online community noticeboards are awash with offers of meal drops and grocery shopping for the elderly and vulnerable. And perhaps we’ll all finally learn how to unmute our microphones while on a conference call!
 
Soon, we may be required to slow right down and live very locally. We are reasonably familiar with what that means for individual communities post-disaster, but what will that mean for the whole nation? Natural hazard resilience research is relevant for understanding those impacts, and developing helpful interventions as part of the social and economic recovery after the health response has finished. There will also be key lessons from this event that are relevant to future natural hazard resilience (such as business continuity preparedness, supply chain resilience, and risk communication). The Resilience Challenge community stands ready to support that national effort.
 
Kia kaha koutou. Look after yourselves and others in these unusual times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q & A with Prof Jan Lindsay

 


 

Q. Tēnā koe Jan. First of all, congratulations on your recent promotion to Professor!

Tēnā koe. Thank you. To be honest it still feels quite surreal! I think it is important to acknowledge that an academic career is built on collaborations – with mentors, students, fellow researchers and teachers, funders…and I wouldn’t have achieved promotion to Professor without the great mahi of all my collaborators. I hope they all realise how much I appreciate them!

Q. How did you get into volcanology? Have you always been fascinated with volcanoes?

Although I grew up in Rotorua surrounded by volcanoes it was only when I hit university that I developed an interest in Earth Science. Ironically, I didn’t do much science at high school and went to university to study languages and linguistics (English and German) with the aim of becoming a teacher! I took two Geology papers in my first year for fun, to fill a gap in my timetable because the description in the prospectus sounded interesting. It didn’t take long before I was hooked – and over the next 3 years converted from a BA to a BSc, and I guess the rest is history. I became specifically interested in volcanoes when I did my MSc on Hauturu – Little Barrier Island volcano in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

Q. I understand you’re the first woman Professor of Volcanology in New Zealand. Do you have thoughts on how can we inspire more girls and women to take up earth sciences, and support them into leadership roles?

There are about 6 or 7 people in Aotearoa New Zealand that would probably identify as Professors of Volcanology, and yes I am the only woman. In Earth Science as a whole it is not much better – I believe I am just one of 2 or 3 active female Earth Science Professors. We actually have a good number of women studying Earth Science and going on to do postgraduate study, but there are so few positions available after students finish their PhD that they often hit a wall and change career path or head overseas. More support for postdoctoral fellowships would make a big difference.     

Q. You’re co-leading the Urban theme for Phase 2 of the Challenge. What drew you to working on a National Science Challenge?

I was only peripherally involved in the first phase of the Challenge, and was really happy when the opportunity came up to join Phase 2 as theme leader for Urban. What drew me to it was the desire to be part of a great team with a great Kaupapa – the Theme leaders across the challenge are all exceptional researchers who are committed to a resilient future for Aotearoa, to nurturing the next generation of researchers, and to enhancing Mātauranga Māori, all things I fully support.

Q. What parts of the Urban research programme are you most excited about?

I am really excited about a new collaboration with law Professor John Hopkins at the University of Canterbury looking at governance around disaster response in the event of an Auckland Volcanic Field eruption. This particular project is co-funded by DEVORA (see below) and is an exciting addition to current research on Auckland’s volcanoes. The premise is if we can front-foot governance structures, laws and plans to be optimised for resilience and recovery we can reduce the shock and impact of a future event.

Jan caving on Rangitoto island

  Q. You also co-lead the multi-agency, interdisiplinary research programme DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland). Can you tell us a bit about that?

DEVORA is a multi-agency research programme co-led by myself and Graham Leonard (GNS Science) and funded by EQC and Auckland Council. Our research ranges from fundamental geological, petrological and geophysical studies on the nature of the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF) to assessment of impacts and risk of a future eruption. The programme has been active for over 10 years and we have made some really important advances in understanding the AVF and the enormous economic, social and physical impacts that an eruption would have. A really important outcome is our whakawhanaungatanga, especially the relationship building between our researchers and Auckland Emergency Management. We also have an active steering committee of representatives from EQC and Auckland Council who help define research priorities, and we put a lot of effort into outreach via community events such as the Auckland Heritage Festival and our Facebook page.  

Jan in Argentina measuring tephra

Q. You’ve spent a lot of time studying and working overseas – in Germany, Chile, and the Carribean. How have these experiences influenced your research interests here?

My MSc supervisor Ian Smith used to say that volcanology is the ‘adventure science’, and I have indeed been lucky in my career to have had many adventures around the world. My experience overseas in seeing how people (in general) and authorities (in particular) interact with volcanic hazard and risk information really sparked my interest in volcanic hazard and risk communication, which I now focus a lot on here. For example, I have done field work to assess volcanic hazard in several overseas volcanic regions where authorities have instructed me not to mention to anyone what I was there for. In other places I have seen school children totally embrace the idea that they live on an active volcano and soak up information about their hazard and risk. These sorts of encounters have definitely shaped my research interests back in New Zealand, where I am really interested not only in how volcanoes work but how we might communicate what they might do in the future, for example via hazard maps or eruption forecasting or decision-making tools.   

Q. What are your future aspirations?

Other than to continue to work with an amazing group of students and researchers, I would love to see an increase in participation of Māori and Pasifika researchers in the Earth Sciences and aspire to support initiatives that aim to do just that. 

 

Student profile: Lydia Michela Maireriki

 


Tourist resilience to natural hazards in New Zealand: combining quantitative and qualitative perspectives

 

 

A bit about me 

 

I was born and raised in Maryland, USA, about an hour south of Washington, DC. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Brigham Young University and my Master’s degree in Disaster Risk and Resilience from the University of Canterbury. I moved to New Zealand in 2017 where I met my now-husband Mahu, a very charismatic Cook Islander. We have one son and a daughter on the way. I’m a member of the Mid-Canterbury TimeBank and am part of its emergency preparedness planning team. When not studying or running our family business, I like to swim, do stained glass, and read books that help me view the world differently. My most recent read was Invisible Women on the gender data gap. I highly recommend it to everyone, particularly researchers.

 

My project

 

As part of the Challenge’s Rural theme, I’ve just started my PhD through Lincoln University, with supervisors Jo Fountain, Stephen Espiner and Nick Cradock-Henry. 

Tourism is an important part of New Zealand’s economy and international reputation. My research project is looking at what it means to be a resilient tourist in a resilient tourism system here in New Zealand. I’ll be looking at particularly vulnerable tourist groups to better understand their in situ hazard and risk awareness, preparedness level, anticipated course of action, and information-seeking processes should a disaster such as an extreme weather event or earthquake occur. My focus will be on vulnerable places (e.g. rural areas) and people (e.g. freedom campers). I will do a mix of quantitative research via surveys and qualitative research via interviews. There is currently a lack of qualitative information on tourists’ perceptions of risks and hazards, their preparedness and anticipated response.

My main research question is:

What are the characteristics of tourists’ resilience to disaster within the context of New Zealand’s tourism system?

Related sub-questions are:

What are different ways of defining and conceptualizing tourist resilience to disaster?

What are key socio-demographic factors that affect risk awareness, preparedness and vulnerability?

Based on my findings, how can information providers (e.g. Department of Conservation, tourism businesses) increase tourists’ resilience in their respective areas of influence?

 

Lydia with her family

Next steps

 

I have been enrolled in my PhD for only a month, so I’m at the very beginning of my project, but I am very excited about developing our understanding of tourist resilience and provide information that can be applied in real world situations. My immediate goal is to complete my research proposal before my daughter arrives in a couple of months!!!