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East Coast LAB launched & LAB, National Aquarium opened

15 months ago by Helen Shea


East Coast Lab Carol Larson Kate Boersen Sept 2016 002

East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) was officially launched at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier.

East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) is a joint project aimed at fostering new research to increase the understanding of the Hikurangi plate boundary and associated natural hazards like earthquakes and tsunami.  At the same time it encourages the public to become engaged in science so they understand the risks of living at the boundary.

It is a three pronged approach with the launch of the East Coast LAB project and the associated “Life at the Boundary” natural hazards education programme, along with the official opening of “The LAB” at the Aquarium.

The LAB at the aquarium is a newly developed interactive education space which will be used for school groups, research talks and functions, as well as open to the general public as part of general admission to the aquarium. It will include a tsunami wave tank demonstration, information on the latest earthquakes in New Zealand, the opportunity to practice a “Drop, Cover, Hold” drill, as well as to become part of some the science projects going on.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Advisor Hazard Reduction Lisa Pearse says the East Coast LAB project has been borne out of a desire to better understand the Hikurangi plate boundary and leverage off national and international scientific research.

“Through the East Coast LAB project we will see research ships from around the world visiting the Hikurangi plate boundary to study it and that research will be able to be presented at the newly developed LAB at the aquarium,” says Lisa Pearse.

She says the project brings together scientists, emergency managers, experts and stakeholders from across the East Coast and around the world.

“The overarching aim of East Coast LAB is to ensure people are aware of the hazards that affect them, know how to prepare and respond to natural hazard events, so after any event they can continue to thrive,” says Lisa Pearse.

National Aquarium of New Zealand Manager Rob Yarrall says the LAB is the perfect fit for the aquarium.

“With the aquarium situated right on the foreshore, along with our existing education programmes it just makes sense to house the LAB at the aquarium,” says Mr Yarrall.

“The LAB is a great opportunity for our local and international aquarium visitors to learn more about the plate boundary that runs off the east coast of the North Island.”