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Kaikoura Earthquake Short Term Research Programme

The M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake of 14 November 2016 was an unprecedented event. Rupturing at least 21 faults from Waiau to offshore Wellington, it triggered damaging tsunami at Little Pigeon's Bay, Banks Peninsula, massive landslips, coastal uplift and damage to buildings, notably in the Wellington CBD.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provided $3.2 million (GST ex) to the Natural Hazards Research Platform cover immediate and short term research needs arising from the Kaikoura Earthquake.

$2 million of the immediate research funding covered critical offshore surveys, LiDAR and aerial reconnaissance to develop an understanding of the extensive ground deformation, landslips and hazards posed by the event.

$1.2 million was allocated to short-term research projects identified as critical for recovery and future planning by stakeholders and government decision-makers.

We are grateful to MBIE and the NZ Government for their support.

Inventories of onshore surface fault ruptures and coastal uplift

Team: GNS Science, Univ Canterbury, Univ Auckland, Victoria Univ Wellington, Univ Otago

Project Leader: Nicola Litchfield, GNS Science

See also

  • Litchfield NJ et al (2018)  Surface Rupture of Multiple Crustal Faults in the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura, New Zealand, Earthquake.  Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 108 (3B): 1496-1520. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170300.   Available online.


Landslide inventory and landslide dam assessments

Team:  GNS Science, University of Canterbury, Massey University

Project Leader: Chris Massey, GNS Science

Final Report (LINK) 20.5MB

See also:

  • Dellow S. et al (2017) Landslides caused by the Mw7.8 Kaikoura earthquake and the immediate response. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), pp. 106-116.  Available online
  • Massey C et al  (2018) Landslides Triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake, New Zealand. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (2018).  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170305. Available online.


Geotechnical Characterization of CentrePort Reclamations

Team:  University of Canterbury, University of Auckland, Tonkin & Taylor, USA research team

Project Leader: Misko Cubrinovski, University of Canterbury

See also:

  • Cubrinovski M. et al (2017) Liquefaction effects and associated damages observed at the Wellington centreport from the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), pp. 152-173. Available online
  • Cubrinovski M et al  (2018)   Liquefaction‐Induced Damage and CPT Characterization of the Reclamations at CentrePort, Wellington. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170246.  Available online


Assessment and repair of existing concrete buildings in Wellington with precast floors

Team:  Univ Auckland, Univ Canterbury, Compusoft Engineering

Project Leader: Ken Elwood, University of Auckland

See also:

Henry RS et al (2017) Damage to concrete buildings with precast floors during the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), pp. 174-186. Available online


Updated NZS 1170.5 subsoil site class and site period maps for the Wellington CBD

Team:  GNS Science, University of Auckland

Project Leader: Anna Kaiser, GNS Science

Final Report (LINK) - 49 MB

See also:

  • Bradley BA et al (2017) Ground motion and site effect observations in the Wellington region from the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake.  Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), pp. 94-105.  Available online
  • Bradley BA, Wotherspoon LM, Kaiser AE, Cox BR, Jeong S (2018)   Influence of Site Effects on Observed Ground Motions in the Wellington Region from the Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, Earthquake.  Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170286.  Available online


Understanding land damage at Mt Lyford to inform Hurunui District Council recovery

Team: GNS Science in partnership with ECAN, Hurunui DC, EQC

Project Leader: Robert Langridge, GNS Science


Including Kaikoura-triggered Slow Slip Earthquakes into Earthquake Forecasts and Seismic Hazard Estimates

Team:  GNS Science

Project Leader: Matt Gerstenberger, GNS Science


Postseismic deformation following the Kaikoura Earthquake

Team:  GNS Science

Project Leader: Sigrun Hreinsdottir 

See also:

  • Wallace LM , Hreinsdottir S , Ellis S, Hamling I , D'Anastasio E, Denys P (2018) Triggered slow slip and afterslip on the southern Hikurangi subduction zone following the Kaikōura earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2018GL077385.  Available online


Improving economic model estimates of central government productivity losses

Team: Resilient Organisations, Market Economics Ltd, GNS Science

Project Leader: Erica Seville, Resilient Organisations

See also:

  • Sampson K, Stevenson J, Seville E, Smith N, MacDonald G, Ayers M, Brown C.  (2017) The Impact of the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake on Government Productivity in Wellington (NZ), October 2017, 24 pgs. Available online

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Last updated 29 Jan 2020