Multihazard Risk Model


Prof Mark Bebbington

Programme Co-Leader

Massey University


Dr Garry McDonald

Programme Co-Leader

Market Economics Ltd



We are focused on delivering world-leading multi-hazard, risk and impact modelling that contributes to key strategic, planning and decision-making processes.

This programme will build and enhance local, regional and national resilience through development of impact quantification, reduction and mitigation solutions that evaluate both ‘normal’ hazards and more extreme and complex events.

Natural hazards often do not occur in isolation, but can be part of a cascade through time, or even simply overlap through coincidence. Cascading hazards can be directly triggered, made more likely, or even inhibited. These possibilities mean that many important hazard combinations cannot be considered independently.

To improve New Zealand’s resilience to natural hazards, these interactions need to be modelled, their occurrence forecast, and impacts quantified. This will facilitate and provide the basis for novel developments in risk and impact modelling that provide a deeper and broader impact analysis across space, through time, for multiple stakeholders. This will significantly improve recovery management in the aftermath of a natural disaster.



Multi-hazard forecasting and impact modelling

We will extend the mathematical and computational basis of hazard and impact modelling to the case of multiple and cascading hazards, and linked impacts to infrastructure. The latter will be in collaboration with the Built Environment programme.

Project lead: Prof Mark Bebbington (Massey)


Case study

Flooding can be caused by a variety of overlapping or cascading events (rainstorms, sediment build-up, landslides, volcanic ashfall etc). Here, through a mix of computational, graphical, and statistical approaches, we will examine the effects of correlation on hazards, and the effect of river control structures on flood inundation hazard.

Project lead: Prof Tim Davies (University of Canterbury)


Dynamic assessments of impacts

We will both widen and sharpen the ability of the MERIT tool to rapidly assess economic consequences, in order to more holistically capture impacts of natural hazard events. This will involve extension to dynamic value chains, and to multiple and social capitals.

Project lead: Dr Garry McDonald (Market Economics)


Embedding models within robust decision-making

We will systematically explore the consequences of alternative sets of assumptions in our risk and economic modelling, with the aim of generating representative scenarios that characterise key vulnerabilities and trade-offs of alternative resilience-building strategies. Changing the prioritisation or scheduling of resilience building initiatives (both pre-event mitigations, e.g. as laid down in Council 30-year asset management planning processes, NZTA’s Land Transport Programme and so on, and post-event adaptions) can dramatically change the impacts felt in response, recovery and rebuild.

Project lead: Dr Charlotte Brown (Resilient Organisations)


Māori perspectives on risk

Working with the Mātauranga Māori programme, we propose a joint national identification of Māori values, perspectives and Mātauranga Māori for risk across the four key hazard themes (e.g., coastal; volcanic; earthquake/tsunami; weather/climate). Findings will be documented within appropriate frameworks as key attributes/factors of risk and resilience. We will then build on that to design kaupapa Māori/ Mātauranga Māori approaches, frameworks and attributes for modelling risk and multi-hazard planning, and test and validate integration and modelling within one catchment area/rohe.

Project lead: Garth Harmsworth (Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research)