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Natural Hazards Research Platform

early warn wharf sensor

Two journal articles (see below) have recently been published that address the establishment of the Natural Hazards Research Platform, and how – as a science responder – the Platform dealt with the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES).   The CES was a significant time for the Platform and all of the scientists and engineers involved; we provided the best science advice possible in the national interest, but we know that some things could have run smoother.

I raise this as over the next three months, Platform will be planning its involvement in Exercise Tangaroa – the first full-scale exercise to be held as part of the Interagency (All-of-Government) National Exercise Programme. Taking place over three days, Exercise Tangaroa will include the warning, impact, response and early recovery phases for a significant tsunami. The exercise will be led by MCDEM and supported by all 16 CDEM groups, central government agencies, emergency services, lifeline utilities, plus other agencies and organisations.

It remains a recognised role and expectation that science capability supported by the Platform will be available to assist decision makers during significant hazard events. We will use Exercise Tangaroa to practice how we work constructively with the many science providers across New Zealand to coordinate the science response and assist decision makers. And the lessons coming out of our experience in Christchurch will certainly be an important part of Platform’s planning and participation; a key one being that having working relationships in place before a crisis makes all the difference in how things work during a crisis.


Beaven S, Wilson T, Johnston L, Johnston D, and Smith R (2016) Role of Boundary Organization after a Disaster: New Zealand’s Natural Hazards Research Platform and the 2010–2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. Natural Hazards Review,10.1061/(ASCE)NH. 1527-6996.0000202, 05016003, Available online.

Beaven S, Wilson T, Johnston L, Johnston D, and Smith R (2016) Research Engagement after Disasters: Research Coordination Before, During, and After the 2011–2012 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, New Zealand. Earthquake Spectra, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 713-735, Available online.   

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