Home / News and Events / Events / Hazards of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone

Hazards of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone 2017 Short Course

How well will your organisation cope with a future Hikurangi subduction zone earthquake?

This 1.5 day course will present state-of-the-art knowledge of Hikurangi subduction zone hazards in New Zealand, and will help you better understand how your organisation can better prepare for, and mitigate against, a future earthquake and tsunami crisis. The course will be presented by scientists from across a range of disciplines.

On the 5th and 6th October 2017 a short course will be presented on the wide-ranging topic of hazards of the Hikurangi subduction zone. The course is designed for those involved in all aspects of natural hazard management: planners, educators, engineers, local and central government policy makers, insurance managers, emergency managers and business, utility and property owners.

The Hikurangi subduction zone runs along the northeast coast of the South Island and along the east coast of the North Island. The subduction zone is capable of generating earthquakes of magnitude 8 and larger. In addition to widespread ground shaking, such an earthquake is also likely to produce a tsunami, coastal uplift and subsidence, landslides and liquefaction. Such an event will have enormous economic and social consequences. This short course will present up-to-date science knowledge about the Hikurangi subduction zone and the range of natural hazards associated with living on an active plate boundary.

We encourage participants from across New Zealand to attend, and particularly those from east coast regions stretching from Canterbury to the Bay of Plenty. The course will be 1.5 days, starting 10 am on the 5th of October and finishing at lunchtime on the 6th October. The short course will be held in Napier, at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. The course registration fees are to be confirmed.


Registration details will be posted soon. 


Subduction zones are a type of plate boundary fault where one tectonic plate dives down or “subducts” beneath another. They are responsible for the largest and most powerful earthquakes and tsunamis in the world, such as Sumatra’s Boxing Day earthquake in 2004, and the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan in 2011.The Hikurangi subduction zone, lying offshore and beneath the east coast of the North Island and northern South Island, is New Zealands’ largest and fastest-moving fault, and is potentially our largest source of earthquake and tsunami hazard. We know that the Hikurangi subduction zone can produce large earthquakes and tsunamis, and that such events have occurred in the past. A significant amount of research has been undertaken to understand more about the seismic and tsunami hazard of the Hikurangi subduction zone and what the potential consequences of a large subduction earthquake will be.

Course content: 

Subduction zone basics: terminology of subduction zones, Pacific Rim of Fire, NZ plate tectonic setting, great subduction earthquakes in history.

Overview of the Hikurangi subduction zone: Characteristics of the Hikurangi subduction zone; current research projects and their contributions to understanding hazard.

Tracking the movement of the Hikurangi subduction zone: What is the Hikurangi subduction zone doing right now? What are slow slip events and what do they mean for earthquake hazard?

Seismicity of the Hikurangi subduction zone: Historic & prehistoric earthquakes of the Hikurangi subduction zone; patterns of seismicity along the margin and what it means for seismic hazard; insights from the Kaikoura earthquake; modelling of subduction earthquake ground motions; New Zealand seismic hazard model.

Tsunami hazard of the Hikurangi subduction zone: historic & prehistoric tsunamis of the Hikurangi subduction zone; introduction to tsunami modelling; tsunami scenarios of the Hikurangi subduction zone and probabilistic tsunami hazard modelling; evacuation zone mapping; current tsunami research projects along the Hikurangi subduction zone.

Landslide and liquefaction hazards: coseismic landslides and likely impacts from a large subduction earthquake; insights from the Kaikōura earthquake; liquefaction hazard along the Hikurangi subduction zone; current research on landslides and liquefaction hazards. 

Risk, planning and communities: using Riskscape to assess impacts of a subduction earthquake; planning for a subduction earthquake and tsunami; marae-based preparedness; outreach and communication of Hikurangi subduction zone hazards.


The course will be presented by scientists from GNS Science and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University. A full list of presenters will be coming soon.  

This course is being run by GNS Science, in association with East Coast Lab and the Natural Hazards Research Platform. 

EC Lab Logo
NHRP - You do not have permission to view this object.