Funding to reduce the impact of natural hazards in New Zealand

Three Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington researchers have received funding from the Earthquake Commission (EQC) for projects designed to help reduce the impact of natural hazards on New Zealand’s homes, towns and cities.

A large crack along a pavement

The EQC Biennial Awards give $1 million in funding to 16 projects across New Zealand, with the University’s researchers receiving $185,000 in total. This funding comes from the EQC levy paid by New Zealanders, allowing the community to directly contribute to research that can improve resilience to natural disasters.

The researchers funded through this grant will focus on three areas: better understanding of geological hazards, creating better engineering, and improving community resilience.

Dr Carolyn Boulton, Postdoctoral Fellow, and Professors Martha Savage and Tim Stern, all from the School of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences, received funding from EQC. Dr Boulton’s project will study frictional strength and stability of greywacke fault zones; Professor Savage will research geodetic and hydrological controls on seismic velocity changes after large earthquakes; and Professor Stern will investigate high-resolution basement mapping beneath Wellington city based on gravity anomaly and borehole data.

Past projects funded by EQC have led to new building techniques and better building codes, have identified high-risk land, and have provided detailed information for planners and emergency managers about the likely effects of natural hazards in their region, helping communities become more prepared.

“New Zealand is a risky country from a natural hazards point of view.  Our research programme is focused on understanding more about New Zealand’s natural hazards and working out how to reduce the impact on New Zealanders,” says Dr Jo Horrocks, Head of Resilience Strategy and Research at EQC.

“We can’t stop earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or other hazards.  But we can help minimise the impacts on communities and ensure that as a nation, we are prepared to not just survive, but thrive, through periods of disruption.”