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Resilience to Nature's Challenges

GNS Science hosts Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, one of 11 National Science Challenges established to tackle big issues that affect all New Zealanders.

Resilience Challenge logo

The Challenge aims to enhance our ability to anticipate, adapt and thrive in the face of ever-changing natural hazards. 

The Challenge entered a second phase from July 2019 with $39.8 million funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for an additional five years.

Phase 1 of the Challenge (2015-19) drove research across 10 interdisciplinary areas. ‘Co-creation Laboratories’ saw researchers, users and stakeholders develop resilience solutions in the Rural, Urban, Māori and Edge (coastal) environments. These Laboratories were supported by technical solutions which were developed and applied across the greatest priority areas. 

Highlights from Phase One:

  • working with livestock farmers and winegrowers in North Canterbury and Marlborough to build resilience following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake
  • developing a New Zealand Resilience Index which assesses the resilience of communities over time 
  • piloting Transport Corridor Forums to increase the resilience of our transport infrastructure
  • creating a Wildfire Hazard Index allowing wildfire hazards to be compared with other perils 
  • developing a national electricity distribution network resilience guide 
  • working with hapū and iwi to develop new resilience indicators for Māori assets. 

A major forum held at Te Papa in May 2019 showcased the collaborative research into hazards and resilience over the past 10 years and outlined future research. 

Phase 2 of the Resilience Challenge will focus on two major themes that align with the Government’s new National Disaster Resilience Strategy. Exciting new research to advance our understanding of natural hazards will comprise the Multi-hazard Risk Model. Improved knowledge of our disaster risks will be paired with social, economic and cultural research to develop tools and methods designed to build Resilience in Practice. 

The Resilience Challenge is well-placed to continue producing high-quality research that can be widely used to improve New Zealand’s natural hazard resilience.