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A Lot On Our Plates’


Aotearoa New Zealand is a land shaped by immense plate boundary forces. Now, a new education campaign wants to make Kiwis more aware about the risk those forces pose and encourage them to take steps to be better prepared for the next earthquake or tsunami.

‘A Lot On Our Plates’ is an online campaign is funded by the Earthquake Commission (EQC and developed by local education programmes AF8 [Alpine Fault magnitude 8] and East Coast Life at the Boundary (East Coast LAB) and invites New Zealanders to submit their questions to find out more about  the land they live on.

The campaign will not only provide interesting facts, natural hazards, risk and preparedness, but also seeks questions from people.

“We want to know what the public is interested in learning about,” says Alice Lake-Hammond, Programme Lead for AF8. “If someone has a question or concern about the Hikurangi subduction zone or Alpine Fault, we’d love them to ask us so we can have a conversation and provide some answers.”

The campaign title - A Lot On Our Plates - acknowledges both the complexity of the tectonic plate boundary which Aotearoa sits astride and that preparing for natural hazards can feel like just other task in our busy lives, especially as we battle a global pandemic.

“The recent quakes near Levin remind us that earthquakes happen all the time, even when we are dealing with other major things in our lives, like a pandemic,” says Kate Boersen, Project Lead for East Coast LAB.

“Sometimes when we think about natural hazards they can seem overwhelming,” says Dr Jo Horrocks, EQC Head of Resilience Strategy and Research. “But the reality is that, as people and communities, we have a lot of power to lessen the impact of disasters – even significant ones. 

“We can all do something to prepare – whether it’s making our families safer by fixing and fastening items in the home, knowing our tsunami evacuation route, or having enough food and water stored away – all of these things will help lessen the impact of a disaster when it occurs”.

A key focus for East Coast LAB is the Hikurangi subduction zone. The zone runs offshore from Gisborne to Marlborough and is New Zealand’s largest and most active fault. For AF8 it’s the Alpine Fault, which runs for about 600km up the spine of the South Island and is one of the world’s major geological features.

“We’re learning more about these two zones of fault activity all the time,” says Dr Caroline Orchiston, Science Lead for AF8. “The Alpine Fault has an unusually regular history of producing large earthquakes. On average there’s a rupture every 300 years, and the last significant quake was 303 years ago in 1717.

“Subduction zone faults – like the Hikurangi subduction zone – are responsible for some of the world's most deadly earthquakes and tsunamis, with Japan 2011 being the most recent example.”

The ‘A Lot On Our Plates’ campaign started yesterday and will run until the end of July across the East Coast LAB and AF8 Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter feeds.


Check out @ALotOnOurPlates via:


@EastCoastLAB –

@AlpineFault8 –


@NZEastCoastLAB –

@AlpineFault8 –


@NZEastCoastLAB –

@AlpineFault8 –

10 February 2023

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