25 Nov 2021

EQC grants $1m in funding for research into natural hazard resilience

5:22 pm on 25 November 2021

Thirteen researchers have been granted $1 million to boost New Zealand's resilience to natural hazards.

New earthquake fault line discovered on a farm in Tatuanui near Morrinsville in the Waikato.

Scientists discovered a new earthquake fault line discovered on a farm in Tatuanui near Morrinsville in February. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) received applications from a record 120 researchers for its biennial grants this year.

Successful applications aligned with EQC's research priorities, but also included a mātauranga Māori, climate change, or social science lens.

EQC research manager Dr Natalie Balfour says each of the 13 projects will further understanding of New Zealand's natural hazard risk.

"The successful projects cover everything from building lower carbon cost homes that are seismically resilient, to deploying ocean bottom seismometers to study Wellington offshore earthquakes in the 'locked' region of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, and design for the re-erection of an important wharenui using mātauranga Māori," she said.

"When sound data and research is put into the hands of key decision-makers like policy makers, local councils, designers, engineers, builders and most importantly, the New Zealand public, this is when we can start making a difference. Investing in science and research and translating that into tangible outcomes is a critical part of that."

The grants programme has been running since 1989. Dr Balfour said research funded by previous grants led to new building techniques and guidance for engineers, identifying at-risk land, and information about the likely effects of natural hazards.

"When homeowners are paying their EQC levy, as well as getting natural disaster insurance, they are making a contribution to research that helps us better understand the likelihood and impact of natural hazards, and what steps can be taken to reduce the impact on New Zealanders."

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