Check out the BayHazards, Bay of Plenty Natural Hazards viewer; an interactive map viewer that provides information on natural hazards across the Bay of Plenty.

Natural hazards

Implementing the Natural Hazards Provisions of the RPS

We have developed a Natural Hazards Programme to deliver the outcomes expected under the natural hazard provisions of the Regional Policy Statement. 

The Programme started after the RPS natural hazard provisions were made operative in July 2016 and includes the following four workstreams:

  • Research.
  • Risk Assessment.
  • Integrated Management.
  • Knowledge Sharing.

The first three workstreams flow from one to each other in stages.  The Research workstream is focussed on mapping areas susceptible to natural hazards across the region.  The Risk Assessment stage evaluates what the impacts or consequences are against the likelihood of the hazard occurring and identifies any high risk areas.  The Integrated Management workstream then aims to deliver risk reduction plans that cover land use, infrastructure and Civil Defence and Emergency Management actions.  We aim to share the knowledge gained across the Programme to make the best information available for decision making.

The Programme is based on the best practice risk management process, which is explained further below. 

Natural Hazard Risk Management Process 

The natural hazards provisions of the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (RPS) require a “risk-based approach” be taken to the management of natural hazards across the region. The RPS is very specific about what it means by a “risk-based approach”. Risk is the combination of the likelihood and the consequence of a hazard. For example a low likelihood event (local source tsunami) could have major impact (consequences) resulting in a high risk.

The figure below outlines the risk assessment process used for the management of natural hazards.

Risk management process

Natural hazards research and mapping is completed first under the establishing the context stage.  An example is mapping the area of land expected to be flooded during a local source tsunami.

  1. The risk assessment stage overlays the hazard map over community assets like buildings and lifeline utilities to determine the consequences. Risk analysis and evaluation is also completed under this stage to test different likelihood events and mitigation scenarios.

  2. Risk treatment outlines the agreed mitigation actions to reduce risk to acceptable levels.  The actions should be integrated across Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM), asset management and the Resource Management Act. For example, CDEM actions could include improved awareness and preparedness through tsunami signs and warnings. Asset management actions include improving evacuation routes and safe zones. RMA actions are planning tools for restricting vulnerable activities or critical facilities within tsunami inundation areas.

Each of these three stages must involve communication and consultation of the results to obtain feedback and find acceptable risk reduction solutions.

The natural hazard provisions of the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) were made operative on 5 July 2016.  The natural hazards policy aims to create more resilient communities through improved identification and consideration of natural hazard risks. This will enable more informed decisions about future land-use and infrastructure development. 

We are leading and co-ordinating work to identify where natural hazards are most likely to occur and what impacts they may have on people, property and the environment. 

Our recent natural hazard research work includes:

Hazard Area affected Description Status Completion Date

Region wide

"I can live with this" - The Bay of Plenty Regional Council public engagement on acceptable risk.

Overview of the process Council followed to understand the level of natural hazard risk the community is willing to accept. View the report.

Research partners: GNS Science.

Completed December 2015

Western Bay

Western Bay Tsunami Hazard Assessment

Research to map areas that may be susceptible to flooding in a tsunami event  at Waihī Beach, Maketū and Pukehina.

Research partners: Western Bay of Plenty District Council, eCoast and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty.

Completed June 2017

Western Bay

Tauranga Harbour Coastal Hazard Study

Coastal hazard assessment for the settlements surrounding the shoreline of Tauranga Harbour, including coastal erosion and coastal inundation.

Research partners: Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council, Emergency Management Bay of Plenty, NIWA.

In progress February 2019

Western Bay

Storm-tide propagation in Tauranga Harbour

Thesis research project designed to refine processes for predicting coastal flooding, which includes gathering information from local people.

Research partners: University of Waikato and NIWA.

Completed July 2018 

Region wide

Lifelines Consequence Assessment

Develop guidance for undertaking lifelines consequence and risk assessments in accordance with the natural hazards provisions of the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement.

Research partners: Tonkin & Taylor and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty.

Completed December 2018

Region wide

Western Bay Tsunami Risk Assessment

Assessment of the level of tsunami risk for Maketū and Pukehina. Waihī Beach risk assessment will be assessed in conjunction with the Tauranga Harbour Coastal Hazard Risk Assessment.

Research partners: Western Bay of Plenty District Council, eCoast and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty.

In progress June 2019

Eastern Bay

Eastern Bay Tsunami Inundation Assessment

Research to map areas that may be susceptible to flooding in a tsunami event at at Matatā, Whakatāne, Ōhope, Ōpōtiki and Tirohanga.

Research partners: Whakatāne District Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, eCoast and Emergency Management Bay of Plenty.

In progress February 2019

Region wide

Active faults in the Bay of Plenty region

Mapping of known active faults in the growth areas across the Bay of Plenty region. This includes improving the estimates for shaking and liquefaction hazards.

Research partners: GNS Science, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, Whakatāne District Council and Ōpōtiki District Council.

Completed December 2018