In Aotearoa New Zealand, we’re geographically and geologically vulnerable to tsunami, earthquakes, flooding, extreme storms, and volcanic activity. Christchurch’s earthquakes, Nelson and Auckland’s atmospheric rivers, and Cyclone Gabrielle have had massive impacts on our infrastructure, requiring long-term recovery work to restore a level of service in its region. To keep our people safe, disaster resilience needs to be a national priority. The challenge? There’s no quick fix.
New Zealanders learn what to do in an emergency at an early age because safety is our priority—we all know how to drop, cover, and hold an emergency go-bag at the ready. The same level of preparedness should apply to our infrastructure, but the damage sustained through continued natural disasters makes it clear we have room to improve. So, what does a resilient nation look like?
Ultimately, resilience is a multimodal and complex set of efforts. How do we plan, design, build, and maintain our infrastructure with resilience in mind? How can we learn from past experiences? How can we engage stakeholders, policy makers, funders, communities, consultants, and constructors to create strong private and public investment? How can we better equip our communities?