East Coast LAB’s Hikurangi M9 Roadshow returns for 2024
Experts will be travelling Te Ika-a-Māui/the North Island, from Bay of Plenty to Wellington, bringing the science of our largest and most active fault to east coast communities, with the generous support of Toka Tū Ake EQC.
The Hikurangi Subduction Zone runs the length of the east coast of Te Ika-a-Māui/the North Island and is Aotearoa’s largest source of earthquake and tsunami hazard.
This incredible geological force, where the Australian Plate dives down westward beneath the Pacific Plate, helped to forge Aotearoa’s beautiful landscape and natural playground.
However, for communities living on its front line, the Hikurangi Subduction Zone poses an invisible but ever-present danger. The Hikurangi is capable of producing a magnitude 9 earthquake and a large tsunami which could arrive within minutes of the initial earthquake.
“It sounds overwhelming, but we know from Japan in 2011, that when people are prepared and act quickly, they can get through.” said East Coast LAB | Hikurangi M9’s Project Leader, Georgia McCombe. “The Japan 2011 earthquake and tsunami was also caused by a subduction zone, similar to ours, but because people were well prepared and evacuated in time, 95% of people survived.”
Although a major subduction zone earthquake, like that in Japan in 2011, has not occurred in Aotearoa since humans arrived, we know they have happened in the past and will happen again.
Scientists cannot predict earthquakes, but the past provides important clues about the future. Years of research has found evidence of 10 large earthquakes over the last 7,000 years. On the southern part of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, these occur on average every 500 years.
The Hikurangi M9 Roadshow will be visiting Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Tararua, and Greater Wellington between February and March of 2024, and every event is free and open to all.
Toka Tū Ake EQC Public Education Manager, Hamish Armstrong, says the roadshow is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn more about the risks local to them while connecting with others in their communities.
"We fund accessible and practical advice that helps people understand, and prepare for, the next 'big one' in their area. We know that preparedness and communities working together are key to building back quickly after a hazard event, and these roadshows ticks both those boxes."
People are encouraged to bring their friends and whānau and take this opportunity to learn about the science and what it means for them and their community, and importantly, how they can prepare.
Dates for each location will be announced shortly, and further information can be found on East Coast LAB | Hikurangi M9’s Facebook page and website.
5 February 2024
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