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QuakeCoRE

Principal Investigator: Dr Caroline Orchiston

Project Overview

This is a TEC-funded Centre of Research Excellence project consisting of two research tasks. 

1. Scoping tourism dynamics post-quake: a module for MERIT. (2016)


This proposal addresses a significant knowledge gap in our understanding of tourist behaviour following major seismic events, using the Canterbury earthquakes (2010-2011) as a case study. We will draw on existing, but presently untapped Big Data (e.g. eftpos, credit card, port of arrival) to model post-quake tourist behaviours, including changes in itinerary and visitor expenditure, and the cascading (flow-on) impacts throughout New Zealand. We are partnering with Christchurch Canterbury Tourism to develop the story of tourism response and recovery given the recovery marketing and communication initiatives that were employed by key stakeholders.
Presently, the characteristics of tourism-related behaviour under the influence of a disruptive event are a significant source of uncertainty in economic impact modelling, including with MERIT (Measuring the Economics of Infrastructure Tool). Our findings will serve as an evidence-base for developing scalable and transferable causal systems models of tourist market dynamics following a seismic event, applicable to a broad range of tourism markets and hazard scenarios. Our research aligns with the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure and Resilience National Science Challenge research programmes, in which the MERIT economic model is being applied. A dynamic model of tourism recovery will be a valuable tool for policy makers and practitioners, in New Zealand and internationally, to better prepare for and recover from disruptive events.

2. The Oamaru tourism precinct: decision-making for resilient solutions associated with heritage, earthquake-prone buildings (2017)

The 2016 Building (Earthquake Prone Building) Amendment Act aims to improve the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings. The proposed changes to the Act were precipitated by the Canterbury earthquakes, and the need to improve the seismic safety of New Zealand’s building stock. However, the Act has significant ramifications for territorial authorities, organisations and individuals in small New Zealand towns, since assessing and repairing heritage buildings poses a major cost to districts with low populations and poor rental returns on commercial buildings. Oamaru lies in Waitaki District in the South Island. It has a small, but diverse tourism offering, largely focused on heritage attractions including the Victorian Heritage precinct, arguably the best collection of Victorian buildings in New Zealand. Waitaki District has approximately 695 earthquake-prone buildings, with estimated costs of up to $180 million required to undertake just the initial assessment required to fulfil the requirements of the Act.
We propose to undertake a Masters research project, with cross-flagship support and supervision by QuakeCore researchers, to understand the current heritage tourism product in Oamaru, and the progress of current owners in undertaking seismic assessments within the tourism precinct. We will apply a Decision Support Tool developed by Flagship 5 researchers in 2016 to assist tourism and local government officials to make the best resilience decisions, which take into account Oamaru’s future tourism growth, visitor safety, building safety and costs associated with meeting the requirements of the Act. This project has relevance to the cross-flagship Alpine Fault case study, since a future Alpine Fault magnitude 8 earthquake has the potential to cause some damage in Oamaru.