School of Environment

Hazards and Disasters

In the Asia-Pacific region, severe storms, droughts, fires, tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions cause billions of dollars of damage to regional as well as global economies, and severely disrupt society. Disasters may get worse with increasing vulnerability of people, communities and societies as well as eroding capacities to face these threats, especially in areas that are particularly prone to natural hazards. The study of natural hazards and disasters is particularly relevant for New Zealand, given its unique geological and geographical setting and its reputation as a ‘natural laboratory’ for investigations into climate change, volcanism, earthquakes and the like. In the School of Environment we are particularly well placed to study the breadth of hazards and disasters, from the underlying physical processes themselves, through to people’s vulnerabilities and capacities, and risk assessment and management. Much of our research promotes more effective understanding of hazards and supports evidence-based policy and practice towards disaster risk reduction. In 2016 we launched a “Hazard Hub @ The University of Auckland” to provide a focal point for our research and teaching in natural hazards. 

Our research topics

  • Understanding underlying physical processes of natural hazards: volcanic hazards, coastal hazards, seismic hazards, landslide hazards
  • Modelling hazards and their impacts
  • Communicating hazards
  • Investigating marginality in disaster


  • Developing participatory tools for DRR
  • Post-disaster recovery

Key Staff