AF8 Roadshow receives award for excellence in readiness and resilience communication

Last week the AF8 Roadshow: The Science Beneath Our Feet was awarded the EMPA Excellence Award for Emergency Communication Readiness and Resilience at the 2019 New Zealand EMPA Conference. Brilliant recognition of the programme’s strength and success in collaboration! Thanks again to everyone who turned out to join our conversation and congratulations to all involved.

The Science Beneath Our Feet aims to equip communities with the knowledge and interest to engage with AF8 science, what that will mean for their region and how we can be better prepared for the next AF8 event.

“By sharing the AF8 hazard and impact science and preparedness information widely we invite communities to share in a conversation about the South Island’s biggest natural hazard, encouraging people to work together to be better prepared for future events.”
Alice Lake-Hammond, AF8 Programme Coordinator

Planning is underway to bring the Roadshow to more South Island communities in 2020. To keep up to date with these plans, follow us on Facebook and/or subscribe to our Newsletter. To find out what the Roadshow is all about, read on.

AF8 Roadshow The Science Beneath Our Feet


Because, we can’t predict earthquakes but we can prepare for them.

Scientific research has shown that the Alpine Fault has a history of generating regular, large earthquakes. The next event is likely to occur within the lifetime of most of us or our children and young people, for whom this is likely to have major short and long-term impacts. It is vital that all community members not just understand the geology underneath their feet but also what science has to say about how to respond in the event of a large earthquake occurring, so we can prepare and take action.

The AF8 Roadshow brings this knowledge to South Island  communities, providing them with an opportunity to engage with, and share, earthquake science that is relevant to them and their region. Specifically:

  • What scientists and CDEM know, but people don’t usually encounter in everyday-life – things like geology, hazards and impacts; and,
  • How science informs CDEM planning and communication about how to prepare for natural hazard events.


By sharing the science beneath our feet.

In each location, the AF8 Roadshow programme includes schools sessions during the day and a public science talk in the evening. The schools sessions are targeted at New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) Levels 4-6 and the public science talks are open to all.


Science + CDEM + Community

The AF8 Roadshow draws the close partnership between science and CDEM, demonstrating the value of collaboration in strengthening our collective resilience to an AF8 hazard event. Sharing The Science Beneath Our Feet is a real collective effort, where science provides the foundation for a robust community-led discussion supported by local CDEM professionals.

Project partners include: Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, the 6 South Island CDEM Groups, Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, GNS Science, QuakeCoRE and University of Otago.

AF8 Roadshow Intensity MapOn our first AF8 Roadshow we visited 14 communities, including 11 schools, around the South Island from March-June 2019. The itinerary was developed using the AF8 South-to-North rupture scenario intensity map to identify communities in higher impact areas, including at least one from each 6 South Island CDEM regions. The AF8 Roadshow was planned for three weeks over March-April 2019. However, due to the extreme weather that impacted the West Coast in late March events in Franz Josef, Harihari and Hokitika were postponed until June.

At the schools we ran sessions with Year 7-13 students, with over 1100 participating in activities designed to engage them in AF8 hazard and impact science and preparedness information through storytelling, evidence-based discovery and solution-focussed activities. Asking what is the Alpine Fault? Where is it? Why should we care? How can we prepare?

In the evenings we hosted presentations by leading AF8 scientists, sharing much of the same information and encouraging communities to take actions towards being better prepared. These were open to the general public with a total attendance of over 1110.

All the public talks were well attended and generated long, open, audience-led discussions about preparedness. They enabled communities to talk productively in a public space and think proactively about how to be more prepared. The feedback on the schools sessions was equally as positive:

“My class was fully engaged in exploring the wide range of activities and information as it was presented in a way which really hooked them. They were able to build a much stronger understanding in a short period of time as the roadshow makes connections with the way children learn best. The presenters were fantastic! The experiments, explanations, choices of what they showed the different age groups. The best Science based opportunity I have had as a teacher too.”

In the media

The Roadshow and interviews with communities we visited featured on TVNZ 1News, RNZ Checkpoint and Showing it is possible to put a positive spin on natural hazard and impact communications in the media, and enabling communities to talk productively in a public space and think proactively about how to be better prepared.

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