Resilience to New Zealand’s Hazard Spectrum


Prof Mark Bebbington

Programme Leader

Massey University




New Zealand has a complex natural hazard environment, and it is important that we understand those hazards so that we can be prepared for their effects. The Resilience to New Zealand’s Hazard Spectrum programme is generating new knowledge about interacting hazards, and a set of fit-for-purpose hazard tools and solutions for nationally consistent delivery of risk information. These tools will underpin development of resilience solutions across all relevant natural hazard types.

Specifically, this programme is developing new frameworks and methods for consistent expression of all parts of the hazard spectrum, from low-magnitude/high-frequency to high-magnitude/low-frequency cases. These are being utilised with hazard and resilience-relevant knowledge by a wide range of community groups, governance and private agencies and other science stakeholders. The programme also takes into account the dynamic shifts that may occur along the hazards impact spectrum, due to factors including: climate change, societal change, and geological activity.



Feature: Franz Josef – Developing resilience in a community at risk

Franz Josef is vulnerable to a range of hazard events, and the community needs to ensure it is resilient enough to live through, and prosper after, any future major hazard event.

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Co-creation of hazard impact and resilience scenarios

Developing a nationally consistent framework for risk and impact information for New Zealand’s natural hazards, using scenario-based approaches.

Project lead: Prof Tim Davies

Host: University of Canterbury


Hazard spectrum and correlation modelling

Statistically quantifying multiple different natural hazards in terms of frequency and magnitude, allowing them to be incorporated into probablistic analysis formulae.

Project lead: Prof Mark Bebbington

Host: Massey University


Feature: Using graphs for good

It is hard to quantify the dynamic interactions that cause multi-hazard events, meaning that we don’t have a good understanding of how they will play out. 

PhD researcher Alex Dunant is modelling multi-hazard impact scenarios to increase our understanding and better inform communities and emergency services.

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Key Achievements


Alpine Fault impact scenario

Co-production of Alpine fault impact scenario development (hazard x exposure x vulnerability = impact) through a structured approach with scientists and practitioners (mostly emergency managers and critical infrastructure managers).


South Island Lifelines project

AF8+ scenarios for South Island Lifelines project completed with the Challenge’s Rural programme.




Extreme weather scenarios

North Canterbury extreme weather scenarios for with the Challenge’s Rural programme in preparation.



Feature: The AF8+ scenario

Researchers have been working to extend Project AF8’s 7-day hazard impact scenario to 10 years post-quake, in order to assess the longer-term impacts on response and recovery.

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Thesis Research Students

Alex Dunant (PhD at the University of Canterbury) – Disaster scenarios simulation, a complex perspective on multi-hazard impact assessment: Franz Josef case study.

Gabriele Frigerio-Porta (PhD at Massey University) – Stochastic models for cascading hazards.

Affiliated with other Resilience Challenge programmes

Kat Hore (PhD at The University of Auckland) – The power of participation: a case study in Franz Josef Township (Rural programme).


Feature: Student Profile

Kat Hore

Kat is spending long periods of time living in Franz Josef to investigate the different initiatives being undertaken by and with residents to reduce hazard risk.

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Selected publications


Orchiston C, Mitchell J, Wilson T, Langridge R, Davies T, Bradley B, Johnston D, Davies A, Becker J, McKay A. 2018. Project AF8: developing a coodinated, multi-agency response plan for a future great Alpine Fault earthquake. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. Special issue: Tercentenary of the 1717 great Alpine Fault earthquake: advances in science and understanding hazards: 1-18. doi:10.1080/00288306.2018.1455716

Wei, R., Zeng, Q., Davies, T., Yuan, G., Wang, K., Xue, X. and Yin, Q., 2018. Geohazard cascade and mechanism of large debris flows in Tianmo gully, SE Tibetan Plateau and implications to hazard monitoring. Engineering Geology 233, 172-182



 Hazard programme details