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10 years - Natural Hazards Research Platform

This year was the final year of the Natural Hazards Research Platform — a programme of work established in 2009 by the New Zealand Government to provide long-term funding for natural hazard research, and to help researchers and end-users work more closely together.

Sumner and Redcliffs RSA destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake. Photo: Margaret Low

The Canterbury earthquakes were just one major incident during the NHRP's lifetime. Photo: Margaret Low

Over its 10-year life, the Platform worked to increase New Zealand’s resilience to natural hazards. The team combined the efforts of the geophysical, engineering and social sciences to address risks from natural hazards, while working more closely with end-users for delivery of the research outputs. 

Over that time, we saw an increased number of natural hazard events. A number of notable earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather causing wind, flood, and storm damage — all of these impacted on people and infrastructure. 

The Platform was the first programme of its kind in New Zealand and could be considered the ‘pilot’ for the National Science Challenges, including Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, which will continue the good work done under the Platform to enhance New Zealand’s ability to anticipate, adapt and thrive in the face of ever-changing natural hazards. 

The research has also been influential overseas. Tsunami blue lines now exist in the west coast of the USA and parts of Indonesia. And how we communicate earthquake aftershock forecasts has been received with great interest by colleagues in Japan and the USA. 

The Platform has been led by GNS Science, with NIWA as a co-anchor organisation, and Opus Research, and the Universities of Canterbury, Massey and Auckland as partners. Collaboration extends more widely with subcontracts to other parties.