New Zealand / Aotearoa
Island Vulnerability explores the challenges which isolated geographies face when dealing with risk and disasters by examining the processes which create, maintain, and could be used to reduce their vulnerability. This page provides information on vulnerability issues in New Zealand / Aotearoa:
Floods on North Island: Professor Russell Blong interviewing a resident of Scott's Ferry in his flood-damaged house.
New Zealand's Islands
New Zealand has islands with three political statuses:
1. Islands which are part of New Zealand, for example:
Danger! Piglet crossing near Port Hutt on Chatham Island.
Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour.
As well, the Ross Dependency on Antarctica is constitutionally part of New Zealand according to New Zealand's government.
2. Full self-government in free association with New Zealand:
3. Self-administering territory of New Zealand (but moving towards self-governance in free association with New Zealand):
New Zealand's Responsibility to Pacific Island Vulnerability
Kelman, I. 2004. "Responsibility to Pacific Island Risk Management?". RiskPost: The Newsletter of the New Zealand Society for Risk Management, issue 4, no. 2 (August), pp. 8-9.
New Zealand's fascinating, beautiful, and dynamic physical geography produces an ideal setting for investigating and understanding how humanity's decisions and behaviour create disasters from normal environmental phenomena such as earthquakes, rivers overflowing, volcanic activity, rainfall, and fog. The consequences include internationally-renowned research, policy, and practice in New Zealand related to living sustainably with nature.
As well, New Zealand's position in the South Pacific, plus being a country comprising relatively small islands, leads to strong links with and interests in the international island community. Aside from New Zealand's history of involvement in Pacific island affairs, two island countries, the Cook Islands and Niue, are self-governing territories in free association with New Zealand, while Tokelau is a self-administering territory moving towards self-governance in free association with New Zealand.
New Zealand contributes extensively to programmes for managing risks on Pacific islands, not only through emergency relief aid and peace-keeping, but also in terms of vulnerability reduction programmes, long-term development, and education. NZAID http://www.nzaid.govt.nz provides more than one-third of the core budget of SOPAC http://www.sopac.org, which is the lead Pacific island agency for disaster and risk management, in addition to funds for activities outside the normal budget. Similarly, many Pacific islanders travel to New Zealand for secondary and tertiary education, often supported by programmes funded by New Zealand's government.
The links are clear, as are the historical and geographical reasons for these links. Does an additional factor exist, that of responsibility?
Does a moral imperative exist for New Zealand's involvement in Pacific small island risk management, most likely due to history and proximity? It is perhaps unfair, inappropriate, and going too far to suggest that the Pacific islands have a fundamental right to assistance from New Zealand for risk management. But how far does NZAID's motto "towards a safe and just world" permit the interpretation that obligations, not simply voluntary opportunities, exist for New Zealand (beyond NZAID and MFAT) to be involved in increasing safety and justice in the Pacific region?
Of course, the impetus for being extensively involved in small island risk management could be selfish. Safe and stable neighbours naturally enhance New Zealand's safety and stability, even considering the large distances between Pacific states. Little fault could be found with implementing appropriate disaster and development aid out of self-interest.
Nonetheless, in today's global village, less affluent states are increasingly making demands on more affluent states for equity and justice--followed by demands for resources and support to achieve equity and justice. New Zealand frequently obliges and is respected for doing so. Are New Zealand's contributions due to only internal, generous choice or is New Zealand required to do so from an obligation to Pacific island risk management? If that responsibility does not exist, should it exist and be made explicit?
The Beehive, the Executive Wing of New Zealand's government, in Wellington:
Greetings from a Friendly, Native Kiwi!
Rainbow Over Lake Te Anau.
Climbing Ben Lomond.
Oystercatchers and Gull.
Risk-taking in Queenstown: Why not Use the Safety Bar? The Hardhats Won't Help.
Jetboating: More risk-taking in (near) Queenstown? Or only the perception thereof?
Raglan Beach, North Island.
Fountain in Christchurch.
The Southern Cross Viewed from Lower Hutt.
Drought on South Island: A Dry River Bed.
National Crisis Management Centre below the Beehive in Wellington.
Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's Highest Point Above Sea Level.
Sunset Over Lake Te Anau: It's a Duck's Life.
Duckingly duckish (9 kb in PDF).
Some publications scanned for Island Vulnerability are:
Ericksen, N. 1985. ANUFLOOD in New Zealand Part I: Approaches to Urban Flood-loss Reduction in New Zealand, CRES Working Paper 1986/2 (dated December 1985), full text (427 in PDF).
Glade, T. and M.J. Crozier. 1999. Landslides in New Zealand: A Selected Bibliography. School of Earth Science Research Report No. 1, School of Earth Science, Institute of Geography, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, full text (613 kb in PDF), kindly provided by the authors.
Handmer, J.W. 1985. ANUFLOOD in New Zealand Part 2: Background to Flood Loss Measurement, CRES Working Paper 1986/3 (dated December 1985), full text (436 in PDF).
Avalanches in the Southern Alps.
The material on the Island Vulnerability website is provided as only an information source. Neither definitive advice nor recommendations are implied. Each person or organisation accessing the website is responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed and are strongly advised to verify all information. No liability will be accepted for loss or damage incurred as a result of using the material on this website. The appearance of external links on this website does not constitute endorsement of the organisations, information, products, or services contained on that external website.