AF8 Roadshow

Bringing Alpine Fault science and hazard impact information to South Island communities, in areas likely to be affected by an AF8 earthquake.

The AF8 Roadshow: The Science Beneath Our Feet shares Alpine Fault hazard science with communities likely to be impacted by the next Alpine Fault earthquake. It is designed to enable conversations, activate local knowledge, and support informed decision-making to increase awareness of, and our preparedness for, a future event. While we can’t predict when earthquakes will occur, 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.

New Zealanders are excellent at coming together to support each other in an emergency. The AF8 Roadshow encourages people to have these conversations in advance, so we can be better prepared for a future event. By making the Alpine Fault hazard science available in a community setting, sharing it in a local context where it is of most relevance to that community, this is where it comes alive and where we see actions beginning to be taken. Whether that be identifying local resources and expertise or the beginnings of a community plan, anything we do now will make a difference in the future and the AF8 Roadshow provides a space where informed conversations can happen.

The AF8 Roadshow is held biennially, and includes public talks and school visits hosted by Emergency Management Groups around the South Island. Check out our 2023 events below.

AF8 Roadshow locations 2019-21

The AF8 Roadshow leverages the close partnership between science and emergency management, demonstrating the value of working together to be better prepared for natural hazard events in New Zealand. The delivery and success of the Roadshow as a communication initiative is due to a real collaborative effort, where science provides the foundation for robust community-led discussions and informed decision-making, supported by local emergency management and communication experts. 

Project partners include: the six South Island Emergency Management Groups, Toka Tū Ake EQC, QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake, Resilience to Nature’s Challenges and GNS Science.

Public Science Talks

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our communities to be involved in learning more about an event that could impact on them. The Roadshow really makes science accessible.” – Emergency Management Officer, Marlborough

Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston presents an AF8 Roadshow public talk in Waimate, 2021

Alice Lake-Hammond presents an AF8 Roadshow school session at Wakatipu High School in 2019.

Alice Lake-Hammond presents an AF8 Roadshow public talk in Kokotahi, 2021

Preparedness game at Otago Girls High School, Dunedin 2021.

Associate Professor Liam Wotherspoon presents an AF8 Roadshow public talk in Greymouth, 2021.

“I’m really scared of earthquakes. But now I understand why we have them and what I can do about them, I feel much better. Thank you for coming.” – Student, Golden Bay

Science Speakers

A Prof. Caroline Orchiston

Caroline is the Acting Director and Research Associate Professor at the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago. She is the Science Lead for AF8, a collaboration between Civil Defence and the science community to improve our ability to respond to a future Alpine Fault earthquake. Her research interests lie in the area of natural hazards and societal resilience, with a particular interest in the tourism sector. She is based in Dunedin with her husband Tom and their three children.


Alice Lake-Hammond

Alice is the Programme Lead for AF8. She specialises in the communication of complex information, with a particular interest in how clear communication design can help us prepare for and respond to emergency events. Previously, Alice has worked with NGOs and IGOs across Europe and Asia supporting their work in disaster and development fields. She returned home to the South Island of New Zealand in 2018 to join AF8, where one of her roles is the design, development and delivery of the AF8 Roadshow.


Jane McMecking

Jane is a natural hazards scientist, with a specific focus of understanding the secondary impacts of disasters. She recently developed a model for estimating landslide dam formation and outburst flooding after large scale earthquakes in mountainous regions.  She has a wide range of experience working as an environmental scientist in regional councils and the hydropower industry.  Currently, she works for AF8 as an Intelligence and Insights Analyst working with geospatial information to improve how we use scientific research to be practical for emergency management and communities.


Dr. Caroline Holden

Dr. Caroline Holden is a seismologist with 20yrs experience in earthquake ground shaking and its impact on the natural, human and built environment. Her research company SeismoCity Ltd actively collaborates with NZ research institutes. She currently leads research projects on the "Development of improved ground motion models of the Alpine Fault, NZ" also known as the SALSA project, the "Implementation of earthquake early warning systems for Aotearoa-New Zealand", and the "Analysis and assessment of building response to ground shaking".


Dr. Matthew Hughes

Dr.  Matthew Hughes is a Senior Lecturer at University of Canterbury and Co-Director of the Humanitarian Engineering Programme. His work centres on the interplay between communities and natural and engineered systems. He conducts multidisciplinary and multi-agency research investigating how communities are impacted by and in turn influence the development of infrastructure, impacts of hazards on infrastructure and communities, and how long-term climate and landscape evolution processes will impact cultural heritage and settlements into the Anthropocene.


Dr. Jack Williams

Dr. Jack Williams was a PhD student at the University of Otago’s Department of Geology 2013-2017, where he worked on rock samples and data collected from the Alpine Fault during the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP). Between 2018-2021 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Cardiff and Bristol universities in the UK (where he is originally from) analysing earthquake hazards in Malawi in East Africa. Since August 2021, he’s been a postdoctoral fellow back at the University of Otago’s Geology Department. There, he is involved in an EQC funded project with Prof Mark Stirling and Dr Caroline Orchiston on understanding and managing seismic hazard in low seismicity regions in Aotearoa with a focus on southern NZ. This has involved: (1) excavating paleoseismic trenches to investigate the prehistoric record of earthquakes in this region, and (2) leading a 12 month deployment of seismometers through the Southland-Otago Seismic Array (SOSA) to understand the spatio-temporal distribution of micro-earthquakes in this region.


Kindly sponsored by

Toka Tū Ake EQC

Proudly supported by

QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake ResilienceGNS ScienceResilience to Nature's ChallengesUniversity of CanterburyUniversity of OtagoUniversity of Auckland

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