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Rachel Hunt

“Patiently waiting on the unlikely opportunity for a photo with a tsunami.”

PhD project title:

The Role of Communication and Public Education in Tsunami Early Warnings and Responses in New Zealand.


Rachel Hunt
Project description:

Individuals and communities are known to respond in different ways to official tsunami warnings and natural tsunami warning signs. This interdisciplinary research seeks to understand how official warnings are decided upon and communicated and the ways in which warnings can be tailored through education measures to improve tsunami awareness and preparedness. Online social research methods were used to investigate tsunami early warnings and responses in New Zealand.

Documents and archives were studied to examine the nature and content of official tsunami information and the methods currently used to communicate these warnings, these resources were provided by the interview participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with tsunami researchers, warning specialists, and emergency managers to gain an understanding of the opinions held on the effectiveness of official warnings and public education. Participants were recruited from research institutes, national agencies, and regional groups in New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, the UK, and the USA. This research aims to improve the understanding of tsunami responses to official warnings and natural warning signs, as well as to strengthen the design of education materials for preparedness methods, contributing to the development of tsunami resilient communities in New Zealand.