Resilience Trajectories for a Future Proof New Zealand


Dr John Vargo

Programme Co-Leader

Resilient Organisations Ltd


Dr Joanne Stevenson

Programme Co-Leader

Resilient Organisations Ltd




We are fortunate to exist in a time that is ‘data rich’, as technology allows us to collect and store more data than ever before. However, having a mass of data doesn’t guarantee a quality outcome; data must be interpreted and utilised effectively to be valuable. The Resilience Trajectories for a Future Proof New Zealand programme is harnessing data to accelerate progress toward the vision of a resilient New Zealand and to inform policy makers and practitioners where to spend our resilience ‘dollar’ most effectively.

Using a process of co-creation with end-users and stakeholders, the programme is producing and testing four tools. The first is a heuristic approach to measuring progress to resilience and projecting resilience pathways. The second is a resilience information utility that aggregates, organises, and facilitates sharing of pertinent data to support a range of evidence based solutions for resilience in New Zealand. The third is a prototype “Resilience Warrant of Fitness” system, and the fourth is an expandable suite of resilience indicators that measure “all of community” resilience via a multi-capital model. This work will lead to a robust means to monitor the impact of the Resilience Challenge and its progress toward reaching the vision of a resilient New Zealand via a set of co-developed targets. 



Feature: What gets measured gets done: The New Zealand Resilience Index

Developing a tool to help decision-makers stay on track as we find ways to build disaster resilience in our communities, environments, and economies.

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Resilience Pathway Heuristic

Developing a heuristic modelling tool to define and assess resilience and adaptiveness to dynamic non-equilibrium environments.

Project lead: Dr Vivienne Ivory

Host: WSP Opus


Resilience Digital Information System

Identifying the data needs for creating resilience trajectory models and resilience enhancement tools with data owners and users. The project will then create a repository and a federated model for accumulating and accessing the data.

Project lead: Dr John Vargo

Host: Resilient Organisations Ltd          


Resilience Indicators

Identifying a range of indicators across a multi-capitals model in a variety of settings, linking resilience indicators to data sources and identifying gaps for ongoing development of the suite of indicators. These indicators will allow users to benchmark resilience, monitor progress, and evaluate the efficacy of resilience interventions.

Project lead: Dr Joanne Stevenson

Host: Resilient Organisations Ltd          


Resilience Warrant of Fitness

Piloting and prototyping a means of holistic resilience assessment, developed from a representative and rapidly assessable subset of the suite of resilience indicators. These will be applied to underpin actionable strategies for resilience improvement on WOF outcomes to attain a user-defined benchmark level.

Project lead: Dr Joanne Stevenson

Host: Resilient Organisations Ltd          


Feature: Behind the scenes: Chris Bowie and Ellie Kay on resilience measurement in New Zealand

Getting to know two up-and-coming young researchers who have been working in the Trajectories Toolbox.

They are working on the New Zealand Resilience Index, and share their aspirations for the project. 

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Key Achievements


Kickstart to Measurement Heuristic

National hazard loss reporting for the Sendai Framework has been guided in part by the Trajectories Toolbox’s “Kickstart to Measurement” Heuristic


DIVE Platform

Trajectories received significant co-funding from QuakeCoRE for the development of a Data Integration and Visualisation (DIVE) Platform. The DIVE Platform (Data Integration and Visualisation EnMasse) is strategically aligned with & Land Information New Zealand data integration efforts.




Resilience Index

The New Zealand Resilience Index developed by the Trajectories Toolbox was written into the National Resilience Strategy as a key monitoring tool for the future.


Kaikōura earthquake

Trajectories has contributed recommendations to the Ministry of Transport for transport system monitoring following the Kaikōura earthquake.



Feature: Student Profile

Becca Fraser

Becca is working to describe and visualise aspects of disaster resilience in New Zealand’s rural communities using contemporary and emerging information techniques.

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Ellie Kay (Resilient Organisations Researcher) – The resilience ‘warrant of fitness’: co-creating a combined bottom-up and top-down resilience assessment framework for communities.


Feature: Science and strategy for better results

Contributing to the ‘Measuring and monitoring progress’ section of the National Disaster Resilience Strategy to ensure effective assessment of whether or not we are improving resilience.

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Selected publications


Stevenson, J.R., Vargo, J., Ivory, V., Bowie, C., & Wilkinson, S. (2015) Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring Review. National Science Challenge Resilience to Nature’s Challenge, Working paper: 06/2015.

Stevenson, J.R., Vargo, J., Wilkinson, S., Ivory, V., & Bowie, C. 2016. What Gets Measured Gets Done: Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring.  Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Building Resilience. Auckland, New Zealand (September 2016).

Stevenson, J.R., & Schindler, M. (2017 September). Getting the Most of Out of Your Research: Metadata, spatial data, and collaboration. Resilient Organisations. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5536513. Available from




Trajectories programme details