National Geohazards Monitoring Centre goes live

New Zealand now has around the clock experts on the lookout to help keep the public safe from geological hazards, with today’s opening of a world-first monitoring centre.

A new centre providing enhanced monitoring of natural geological hazards in New Zealand was officially opened by Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi this morning.

The National Geohazards Monitoring Centre is a purpose built facility located on the GNS Science campus in Lower Hutt, Wellington, and is manned 24/7 by a team of geohazard analysts.

Megan Woods says that the Centre’s staff will provide monitoring and advisory services for four hazards - tsunami, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. No other centre in the world monitors all of these geological hazards in one service.

“New Zealanders are aware of the life-threatening geological risks that our country faces and this centre will improve the early warning systems for those events.

“The Centre will allow ‘24/7 awake’ as opposed to the current on-call basis, reducing response times and improving the flow in important information.

“GNS Science is the perfect host for the centre, because it provides scientific understanding and interpretation of geological events, and operates the GeoNet system which monitors geological threats.

“It allows staff to immediately assess events, the moment they begin. This is more efficient than the previous system, which relied on automated messages to on-call staff, providing improvements in situational awareness and response times, alongside other service enhancements.”

Kris Faafoi says that providing speedy and reliable information is critical to keeping New Zealanders safe during events.

“We can’t control the forces of nature, but we can control how effectively we keep the public informed so they can stay safe.

“In New Zealand, disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and landslides can strike at any time, sometimes without warning.

“This highlights the importance of having the ability to respond to such events as quickly as possible with the most accurate information available.

“Kiwis can now feel reassured that there will be experts keeping an eye on our geological hazards every minute of every day.

The centre is funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Strategic Science Investment Fund. The new Centre will be resilient, with a backup facility at GNS Science’s Wairakei site.

For more information on the Geohazards Monitoring Centre, visit the MBIE website.

Notes to the editor:

The Strategic Science Investment Fund is a fund for strategic investment in research programmes and scientific infrastructure that have long-term beneficial impact on New Zealand’s health, economy, environment and society.

Access to high quality research infrastructure is a critical input into excellent science. SSIF Infrastructure supports infrastructure that have high national benefits that will not emerge in the course of usual business because of the scale, complexity, long duration and multi-user nature of the investment.