What is AF8?

We can't predict earthquakes but we can prepare for them.

AF8 [Alpine Fault magnitude 8] is an award-winning programme of scientific modelling, coordinated response planning, and community engagement, designed to build resilience to the next Alpine Fault earthquake.

While we can’t predict when earthquakes will occur, scientific research indicates there is a 75% probability of an Alpine Fault earthquake occurring in the next 50 years, and that there is a 4 out of 5 chance that it will be a magnitude 8+ event. Geological evidence also shows that the Alpine Fault has a remarkably regular history of producing large earthquakes. Over the last 8000 years, the Alpine Fault has ruptured 27 times, on average that’s every 300 years. The last significant quake on the Alpine Fault was in 1717. The next severe earthquake on the Alpine Fault is likely to occur within the lifetime of most of us, or our children.

AF8 aims to share Alpine Fault hazard and impact science and preparedness information widely, through communication and engagement activities, to increase awareness, enable conversation and build societal preparedness to natural hazard events in Te Waipounamu our South Island.

Aotearoa New Zealand is aware of the Alpine Fault hazard risk and is enabled to take action to build resilience.

Our Vision

Emergency management and science working together to enable informed decision-making and increase Te Waipounamu our South Island’s readiness and response capability for the next Alpine Fault earthquake.

Our Mission

Who is AF8?

AF8 is best understood as a ‘boundary organisation’: an interdisciplinary partnership between research, policy and practice designed to support, build and coordinate readiness and response capability for the next great Alpine Fault earthquake, across the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme was established and continues to be led by the 6 South Island Emergency Management (EM) Groups and key Alpine Fault hazard risk science partners Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC) and QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience.

Governance and leadership for the programme is provided by the AF8 Steering Group comprising the 6 South Island Group Managers, science leaders and a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) representative. Emergency Management Southland acts as the chair and the administrative authority for AF8. West Coast Emergency Management currently acts as the deputy chair.

While AF8 has no statutory role, nor will it take on the role of managing a response to an Alpine Fault earthquake – these responsibilities lie with the EM Groups, NEMA and their partner agencies – the programme provides a critical platform to enable planning and preparedness and has several key roles:

  • Bringing together emergency managers, scientists, policymakers, practitioners and communities to build capability for earthquake readiness and response;
  • Providing a conduit for the direct application of Alpine Fault related research to support policy and practice; 
  • Facilitating engagement between scientists, emergency managers and the public;
  • Translating and communicating hazard risk science to enable informed decision-making for planning and preparedness.

Resilient together

We are more resilient when we work together and AF8 collaborates closely with other organisations aimed at increasing New Zealand's resilience to natural hazard events, including: Toka Tū Ake EQC who co-fund the AF8 Roadshow: The Science Beneath Our Feet and other public education activities, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University and GNS Science whose diverse research strengthens our understanding of the Alpine Fault and how we can be better prepared for natural hazard events.

AF8 is also a founding member of the Plate Boundary Network: a group of regionally branded natural hazard programmes actively involved in sharing natural hazard and impact science and supporting public education and engagement in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Programme Partners

Emergency Management Southland Emergency Management CanterburyEmergency Management OtagoWest Coast Emergency ManagementNelson Tasman Emergency ManagementMarlborough Emergency Management

QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake ResilienceNational Emergency Management AgencyResilience to Nature's Challenges


The Earthquake Commission (EQC)University of CanterburyUniversity of OtagoUniversity of AucklandVictoria University of WellingtonMassey UniversityGNS Science

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