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Community understanding and preparedness for tsunami risk in the eastern North Island, New Zealand

The Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004 made many New Zealanders more aware of the devastating affects that a tsunami can have on coastal communities, and highlighted the need for people living in the coastal zone to be prepared for natural hazard events. The east coast of New Zealand is at high risk from both local and distantly generated tsunami, and Poverty Bay and Hawke Bay have been identified among the most at risk areas from tsunamis in the country. Three surveys were conducted between January and November 2006 to assess community understanding of, and preparedness for tsunami risk in the eastern North Island, New Zealand. These surveys were a camping ground visitor survey; a tourism sector preparedness survey; and the 2006 National Coastal Survey. Findings of all three surveys show that the general public does not appear to have sufficient knowledge of tsunami risk in their area. Also, there does not appear to be adequate information on tsunamis available to the public. Understanding of official tsunami warnings was high amongst residents surveyed in the 2006 National Coastal Survey. However, it was low amongst visitors surveyed in the camping grounds, with the majority of camping ground survey respondents indicating that they do not know what makes up the New Zealand public notification system. It is encouraging to find that overall the public are aware of the correct actions to take in the event of a tsunami warning being issued. Staff in hotels/motels in the Napier area were not well prepared for managing natural hazard events, with the majority of respondents having no training for dealing with emergencies, and none of those who had received training had received training for tsunami hazards. It is recommended that steps be taken to better educate and prepare the public and tourism managers in eastern North Island communities. This will require not only public education but a range of activities that engage, empower and motivate at-risk communities to respond effectively and appropriately to tsunami warnings.
Type of thesis
Pishief, K. S. (2007). Community understanding and preparedness for tsunami risk in the eastern North Island, New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2393
The University of Waikato
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