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Research Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston

Thursday 27 August 2015 11:56am


Caroline Orchiston imageTel +64 3 479 9244
Mob +64 21 077 8888

Research background

Caroline’s background in both earth and social sciences involves research on aspects of tourism disaster resilience and recovery, community and business resilience, and scenario planning for impacts to critical infrastructure and emergency management during earthquake disasters. Her PhD and Postdoctoral research investigated tourism in areas of high seismic risk (Southern Alps and Canterbury, New Zealand), focussing on pre-disaster planning and preparedness (Alpine Fault zone) and post-disaster impacts and recovery amongst tourism enterprises and stakeholders (Canterbury earthquake sequence). Since 2010, Caroline has also been involved in a longitudinal study of community preparedness and awareness to natural hazards in Washington State, USA in collaboration with GNS Science, Washington State Emergency Management and the United States Geological Survey. She is an Affiliate Researcher at both the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (Massey Wellington and GNS Science) and Resilient Organisations (Christchurch).

Caroline joined the Centre in March 2016 as a Research Fellow involved in Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (National Science Challenge). This 10-year research programme focusses on building a more resilient New Zealand by transforming how we prepare for and mitigate against rapid (earthquakes, floods) and slow onset (climate change-related) disasters. Caroline is Co-lead of the Rural programme, with Professor Tom Wilson (University of Canterbury). More information about the Rural programme and Resilience to Nature’s Challenges can be found here: Resilience to Nature's Challenges 

Caroline is on the Leadership team for QuakeCoRE, the New Zealand Centre for Earthquake Resilience, and is also co-lead for Flagship 5, Pathways to Societal Resilience.

As Science Lead for AF8 (Alpine Fault magnitude 8), Caroline works with a wide team of Alpine Fault scientists and emergency management practitioners to improve the way New Zealand will respond and recover from a future magnitude 8 earthquake on the Alpine Fault. The lessons learned from this work programme can also be applied to a range of other disruptive events, because building strong networks in communities, response agencies and Universities is key to societal resilience.

Caroline’s passion is for applied research that makes a different to our society, particularly in building social capital through networks and connections, and working with communities to build resilience.

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Current and recent projects

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Current postgraduate students


  • Moriah Osborne (2020). Tourism operator preparedness and resilience in the Southern Alps. Fully funded QuakeCoRE scholarship. 


  • Lucia Danzi (2020-). Tourism and emergency management. Resilience to Nature’s Challenges scholarship.
  • Sonja Mueller (2019 - ). Community and local knowledge of water-driven hazards. University of Otago scholarship.
  • Rajan Chandra Ghosh, (2018-). Climate-Induced Migration and Sustainability: A Spatial Analysis of Urban New Zealand. University of Otago Scholarship. 
  • Mathew Darling, (August 2018-). Assessing Transient Populations Exposure to Disaster Risk.  (University of Canterbury)
  • Shakti Shrestha (June 2018-). Wellington Cordon baseline project. QuakeCoRE (NZ Centre for Research Excellence) Scholarship
  • David Wither, (March 2017-). Social norms of resilience in Kaikoura post-earthquake disaster. Resilience to Nature’s Challenges scholarship.
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Significant publications

Underwood, G., Orchiston, C. and Shrestha, S. (in press). Post-earthquake cordons and their implications. Earthquake Spectra.

Vinnell, L., Orchiston, C., Becker, J. and Johnston, D. (2019). Pathways to earthquake resilience: learning from past events. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies. 23 (2), 35-40.

Espiner, S., Orchiston, C., & Higham, J. (2017). Resilience and sustainability: a complementary relationship? Towards a practical conceptual model for the sustainability–resilience nexus in tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, (A* ranked journal)

Brown, N., Rovins, J., Feldmann-Jensen, S., Orchiston, C. & Johnston, D. (2017). Exploring disaster resilience within the tourism sector: a systematic review of literature. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.

Orchiston, C., Prayag, G. & Brown, C. (2016). Organisational resilience in the tourism sector. Annals of Tourism Research. (A* ranked journal)

Robinson, T., Davies, T., Wilson, T., & Orchiston, C. (2016). Coseismic landsliding estimates for an Alpine Fault earthquake and the consequences for erosion of the South Alps, New Zealand. Geomorphology, vol. 263: 71-86.

Robinson, T., Davies, T., Wilson, T. & Orchiston, C. (2016). Developing coseismic landsliding loss assessments for critical infrastructure to aid emergency response planning. Risk Analysis.

Orchiston, C., & Higham, J. E. S. (2016). Knowledge management and tourism recovery (de) marketing: the Christchurch earthquakes 2010–2011. Current Issues in Tourism, 19(1), 64-84 (A ranked journal)

Robinson, T., Davies, T., Wilson, T., Orchiston C. & Barth, N. (2015). Evaluation of coseismic landslide hazard on the proposed Haast-Hollyford Highway, South Island New Zealand. Georisk: Assessment and management of risk for engineered systems and geohazards.

Orchiston, C., Vargo, J & Seville, E. (2014). Regional and sub-sector impacts of the Canterbury earthquake sequence for tourism businesses. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. vol. 29 (4): 32-37.

Orchiston C., Vargo, J., & Seville, E. (2013). Insurance in the tourism sector after the Christchurch earthquakes. Australia New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance, vol. 36 (4): 20-23.

Orchiston, C. (2013). Tourism business preparedness, resilience and disaster planning in a region of high seismic risk: the case of the Southern Alps. Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 16 (5): 477-494. (A ranked journal)

Orchiston, C. (2012). Seismic risk scenario planning and sustainable tourism management: Christchurch and the Alpine Fault zone, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 20 (1): 59-79. (A* ranked journal)