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David Johnston

David Johnston, GNS Science/Massey University

“New Zealand communities are vulnerable to a number of natural hazard events”

David became first interested in natural hazards and disasters at school when he was 13 years old and had to do a school project on the Mt St Helens volcano. It erupted in 1980 in Washington, killing 57 people and damaged more than 200 homes. It also affected roads and railway lines, with ash damaging cars and buildings.

David has continued to be interested in how people are affected by natural hazards such as volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather events. He now works as a social scientist at Massey University and GNS Science. He is interested in the role of education in building resilience to natural hazards and how people recover following a disaster. 

What he loves most is working with scientists from different scientific backgrounds. David works with a number of different physical scientists (they study the earth and the environment) and social scientists (they study people and the environment) from many different organisations and countries.

His research never stops and he has a number of different projects on the go!