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Preparing New Zealand tourism for an Alpine Fault earthquake

Preparing New Zealand tourism for an Alpine Fault earthquake
September 27, 2019

Advising that “it’s only a matter of time before a rupture of the Alpine Fault” on New Zealand’s South Island, New Zealand Minister of Civil Defence and Associate Minister of Tourism Peeni Henare has advised the tourism industry to team up with emergency management partners to be better prepared.

Minister Henare yesterday opened the inaugural AF8 Tourism Forum in the Fiordland town of Te Anau, bringing the tourism sector, emergency managers and scientists together to prepare for widespread disruption arising from a natural disaster.

Advising that forward planning will play a big role in managing and mitigating the impacts of a large-scale earthquake such as an Alpine Fault rupture, Minister Henare stated “the stunning landscapes that attract international and local visitors to the South Island are products of the powerful natural forces that have shaped and continue to shape our country.

“But those natural forces also put our infrastructure, our communities, our people and our visitors at risk.

“New Zealand faces some of the greatest natural hazard risks of any country in the world and, among those, an Alpine Fault earthquake is one of the most significant.

“Our most dramatic tourist destinations are going to be some of the most difficult to support in the aftermath of a large Alpine Fault earthquake. This forum will enable tourist operators, emergency managers and scientists to anticipate those needs and challenges, and put plans in place,” Peeni Henare said.

Participating at the forum are tourism operators, Te Waipounamu runanga and ropu, South Island Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, emergency services, central government agencies, universities and local businesses.

The forum is convened by Project AF8, which has brought together science and emergency managers to identify the consequences of a magnitude 8 Alpine Fault earthquake and to identify coordinated initial response actions and what needs to be done to be better prepared.

The Forum is part of an ongoing series of activities to continue conversation and knowledge sharing about a large Alpine Fault to ensure that communities and agencies are collectively better prepared and planning for a significant Alpine Fault rupture.

Click here to visit the Project AF8 website.

Image: The Alpine fault runs to the east (left) of the snowcapped ridge of the South Island alps. Courtesy of New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa.

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