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Extreme weather events highlight the need to design for resilience. Members have done the profession proud by helping respond to many severe weather events this year – the most significant being flooding in Auckland and Cyclone Gabrielle.

Tāmaki Makaurau received nearly half of its average annual rainfall in January 2023 alone. Flooding during the Auckland Anniversary Weekend caused vast damage to many homes and cut vital transport links. Weeks later, engineers from Northland to Hawke’s Bay rallied in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

In his role as the Technical Adviser – Emergency Management to Engineering New Zealand, Dave Brunsdon provided support to members in Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti during the early stages of the recovery following Cyclone Gabrielle. This included assisting with the establishment of the Hawke’s Bay Engineering Leadership Group and regular technical clearinghouse meetings, drawing on the successful models that followed the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. The group provided a means for local engineers to collaborate, discuss issues that arose during the response, and collectively liaise with national agencies.

“Having a forum for engineers to get the latest information in relation to the event and recovery process and the opportunity to ask questions is always valuable – even if the answers are not always available.”
David Brunsdon DistFEngNZ CPEng CNZ, Technical Adviser – Emergency Management to Engineering New Zealand

Engineering New Zealand also worked closely with local councils and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to provide emergency response information to help engineers during and after natural disasters. These include tools and guidance for managing and assessing buildings, wellbeing resources, and case studies. Many engineers were directly affected or involved, and members’ personal experiences were shared in our “Engineers’ Stories” series.

The Engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel was established to support owners with independent advice when accessing the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service, a service that broadens the remit of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service to cover all natural disasters across Aotearoa.

Additionally, the Engineering New Zealand Foundation awarded a grant to He Rau Aroha, an initiative from Marie McCarthy (Ngāti Porou (Whanau-a-Ruataupare), Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāti Tama (Mokai Patea)) to enable Māori working in infrastructure to engage pro bono with iwi and communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

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