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Beneath the Waves - Raranga Whāriki Papa Moana


Preparedness and resilience to New Zealand’s nearshore volcano hazards

Project Period: 2021 - 2026

Organisations: GNS Science, Massey University, The University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington, East Coast LAB, Civil Defence and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty

Project funding: Endeavour Fund, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (New Zealand)

Project Location: Offshore Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


The Beneath the Waves Raranga Whāriki Papa Moana programme will explore the hazards from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s near-shore volcanoes – Tūhua/Mayor Island and Whakaari/White Island – to prepare and make Aotearoa/NZ more resilient to the impact of these hazards. The programme is funded by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour grant.

In light of the tragic eruption of Whakaari on December 9th 2019, there is renewed urgency to understand the likelihood, magnitude and impact of volcano hazards on Auckland/Bay of Plenty/Waikato/East Cape region communities. 

Currently, understanding of the volcanoes and their potential to generate destructive tsunami is limited. The programme has a three-stage approach to delivering improved understanding of these volcanoes, their potential hazards and impacts, and improved forecasting of their occurrence.

Stage 1 – Explore: A detailed underwater geophysical exploration of the volcanoes.

Stage 2 – Simulate: Large scale experimental work and computer simulations will be conducted to understand the potential for ashfall and tsunami.

Stage 3 – Mitigate: A range of stakeholders will be brought together to guide the research and deliver outcomes relevant for Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and East Cape communities.

The outcomes of this work will allow scientists and emergency managers to better understand the hazards posed by these volcanic islands and guide future work to reduce the vulnerability of communities, infrastructure, and cultural taonga along the Bay of Plenty coast.

Beneath the Waves: Preparedness and resilience to New Zealand’s nearshore volcano hazards

Beneath the Waves: Preparedness and resilience to New Zealand’s nearshore volcano hazards

10 February 2022

A team of scientists, led by Dr Craig Miller at GNS, are beginning an investigation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s nea...

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