Scientists discover Hawke's Bay is not the only region on shaky ground.


Scientists have found evidence that two large ‘subduction’ earthquakes occurred under central New Zealand in the past 1000 years.

This is the first time that direct geological evidence has been found of subduction quakes occurring under central New Zealand. Scientists have previously found evidence of these quakes occurring under Hawke Bay.

The quakes under central New Zealand – the Cook Strait-Marlborough area - occurred 520 to 470 years ago and 880 to 800 years ago.

Scientists identified the quakes from sediment cores extracted from Big Lagoon, a large coastal lake east of Blenheim. Organic material from various levels in the cores was radiocarbon dated to provide estimates of when the quakes occurred.

The cores showed evidence of two sudden subsidence events during the past 1000 years where the land dropped by up to half a metre. Sudden large drops of this nature can only be caused by moderate-to-large earthquakes, and these two events did not match any known large earthquakes on nearby faults in the upper (Australian) plate.

The research is outlined in a paper in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, published this week.

Lead author Kate Clark, of GNS Science, said the geological evidence pointed towards the two quakes occurring on the dipping subduction zone about 10km to 30km beneath the seabed in Cook Strait.

The current national seismic hazard model takes these types of earthquakes into account as it has always been assumed they could occur, but geological evidence was previously lacking.

“The findings are significant in terms of understanding earthquake and tsunami hazards in the lower North Island and upper South Island,” Dr Clark said.

Subduction earthquakes had the potential to be larger in magnitude than ‘upper plate fault ruptures’. They also affected a larger area and were more likely to trigger a tsunami.

Subduction quakes differ from normal quakes in that they occur on the under surface of the upper plate, where two plates meet, instead of on faults within the upper plate.

They are responsible for some of the biggest quakes – and tsunamis – in the world. Recent examples include the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 and the magnitude 9.3 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in December 2004.

The older of the two earthquakes identified at Big Lagoon was accompanied by a 3m-high tsunami that travelled inland about 360m at the study site. There was no evidence of a tsunami with the more recent of the two quakes.

Dr Clark said the more recent of the two quakes possibly correlated with a quake already identified further north on the central section of the Hikurangi margin (under Hawke Bay).

This raised the possibility that both central and southern sections of the margin may have ruptured in the same quake.

The evidence did not allow scientists to estimate the size of the two quakes, but quakes with similar impacts in comparable geological settings were in excess of magnitude 7.5.

Dr Clark said she and other scientists were investigating other locations in the lower North Island to find further evidence of subduction quakes. This could help to provide a better picture of how big these quakes might have been and how they impacted the region.

Subduction quakes were difficult to study because there were not many places in the landscape where records of their occurrence were preserved.

At a glance

  • For many years scientists have strongly suspected that the southern part of the Hikurangi Margin could rupture in an earthquake
  • This is the first time they have found direct geological evidence that this is the case
  • This type of quake (a subduction quake) is not a 'new' hazard. It is already accounted for in the National Seismic Hazard Model, which feeds into the building code and informs engineering standards
  • The evidence did not enable scientists to estimate magnitudes for the two quakes that were identified
  • Data from just two earthquakes is not enough for scientists to work out a robust recurrence interval for this type of quake
  • Subduction quakes are difficult to study because there are no many places in the landscape where their records are preserved.

The National Seismic Hazard Model is like a ‘black box’ of earthquake activity in New Zealand. It is a computer model that estimates the likely strength of earthquake ground-shaking an area can expect over a defined period, typically periods such as 50 years or 500 years. The two main components of the model are knowledge of all of New Zealand’s active faults and the record of New Zealand’s earthquakes for the past 160 years. Data from the NSHM feeds into the Building Code. In simple terms, the ground-shaking that subduction earthquakes can generate is accounted for in modern engineering standards.

In 2006 scientists studying sediment cores from Ahuriri Lagoon in Napier found evidence of seven earthquakes in the past 7000 years, one of which at 600-400 years ago, was probably a subduction earthquake.

The Kids 4 Drama group are returning to Hawke's Bay


The Kids 4 Drama group will be returning to Hawke’s Bay primary schools for two weeks from Monday 18 May.

Kids 4 Drama is a performing arts school and theatre in education production company based in Auckland. The young actors in Kids4Drama are students themselves and develop shows to perform in schools to encourage students to think about various environmental themes.

Kids 4 Drama will be visiting 24 of the region’s schools. This production is a version of last year’s show about reducing waste and cleaning up our water, land and air, which Kids 4 Drama is taking to more schools.

"Each year local children really enjoy these fun and informative productions. They relate well to learning about environmental messages from children not much older than themselves," says HBRC’s community engagement coordinator, Sally Chandler.

Kids 4 Drama has been popular with Hawke’s Bay schools for eight years, as they provide school children with an opportunity to see a live theatre performance and think about some of the big issues in their communities.

The productions are supported here by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Wairoa District Council and Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.

New Havelock North kura kaupapa takes everyone by surprise.


The revelation that the Ministry of Education intends to build a kura kaupapa on the Arataki Motor Camp site in Havelock North has come as a shock to many.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata announced the Governments intentions to build a kura kaupapa in Hastings as part of its share offer programme but it was not known where it would be situated until recently.

MP Craig Foss has admitted he was unaware of the plans and say's he will be meeting with the minister to ask some important questions.

Many are questioning the placement of the kura kaupapa and whether it will be used by children living in Havelock North or by students brought in from other areas.

Concerns over the impact of existing schools in the area were also raised and some questioned if this was going to become Hawke's Bays first charter school.

New Hawke's Bay trade graduates celebrate success


A very happy Logan Sherriff was one of the 350 students who made the grade last year and was celebrating his achievement last Wednesday night. He had achieved two advanced (level 4) certificates, both in forestry operations and received his certificate from Napier deputy mayor Faye White. Overseeing proceedings is Competenz apprenticeship coordinator Matt Durham.

Developing hands-on experts in fields as diverse as carpentry to gas fitting and hairdressing to security services is every bit as important to society as having university graduates. Last week the achievements of trades achievers were acknowledged.

Upskilling gave individuals knowledge, pride and independence, said Jan Crawford, the manager of Youth Futures which coordinated a ceremony for 350 trade graduates last Wednesday.

After the graduation Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said it was really important to “nurture and train our young people so they can succeed without having to leave the region.

“The graduation ceremony was a brilliant example of how we should acknowledge the great young people we have. Smart, reliable and happy to be upskilled.”

Trades training enable people to gain qualifications without incurring the mounting student debt suffered by many of their peers, said Crawford.

Last week’s graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of students who last year specialised in one of 35 trades, gaining an Industry Training Organisation (ITO) qualification at level three or over.

The annual ceremony, attended by 50 of the graduates, was held at the Napier Boys High School on Wednesday [6 May], with certificates handed out by Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule and Napier deputy mayor Faye White.

The ITO programme, supported by central Government, is based on workplace learning with the participants achieving standards set by industry.


EIT Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti achieve top education ranking.


EIT achieved the top ranking possible in its recent independent external evaluation and review, confirming its position as one of New Zealand’s leading tertiary education institutions.

In its recently released EER report, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority says it is "highly confident" in EIT’s educational performance and its capability to self-assess.

Already classified as a category one institution from NZQA’s 2010 review, this 2014 external review confirms that position. The evaluation takes EIT to the forefront of New Zealand’s institutes of technology and polytechnics sector and makes it the first ITP to achieve the highest possible ratings in the NZQA’s latest round of external evaluations.

"We have worked hard to continue to improve and build off our strengths," says chief executive Chris Collins.

"Our communities can be satisfied that in Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay they have access to top quality tertiary education at one of New Zealand’s highest ranked tertiary institutions.

"Since 2011, we have merged EIT with Tairawhiti Polytechnic to establish one combined institution, so this was also a huge independent ‘tick’ of "high confidence" into how well that has gone, as this external review covered both regions."

In what EIT’s director of academic and student services Jo Blakeley characterises as a "hugely rigorous" process, the review covered a wide range of Levels 1 to 9 study programmes.

Drawing on student achievement data from EIT, NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission, the review considered course and qualification completions in new and more longstanding programmes, some offered across both campuses with others based at Tairawhiti (Gisborne) or in Hawke’s Bay.

It also appraised the value of qualifications to employers and their level of satisfaction with graduates.

NZQA says the focus areas - Maori studies, horticulture, travel and tourism, computing, trades, health and sport science and the blended learning options for the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences and the Bachelor of Nursing - were chosen "to represent a reasonable cross-section of programmes and activities across the organisation and its campuses".

EIT has been the first ITP to have blended learning offerings assessed as a focus area. And in another first for an EER review and at EIT’s request, the Matauranga Maori Evaluative Quality Assurance framework was used in evaluating the Bachelor of Arts (Maori) and Certificate in Maori Studies.

The process draws on key principles and concepts from Te Ao Maori (the Maori world view), thereby recognising the uniqueness of Matauranga Maori qualifications.

The report points to EIT’s "important contribution" to Matauranga Maori.

"Students are gaining the opportunity to contribute back to their communities in a range of ways, including marae and iwi restoration projects, mara kai (growing vegetable gardens) and te reo Maori projects.

"This has been acknowledged positively by iwi in particular, who have not underestimated the contribution and dedication of Maori studies staff across both campuses to the maintenance and revitalisation of te reo and tikanga Maori in their respective communities."

The report also points to EIT’s focus on supporting priority students.

"EIT has the third-largest percentage of Maori students (43 percent) in the ITP sector (30 percent of students at the Hawke’s Bay campus and over 70 percent of students at the Tairawhiti campus identify as Maori). Almost half the student population is under 25 years of age."

NZQA says EIT had responded to the changing demographic through a strong analysis of performance for priority students while acknowledging more work was to be done.

The institute’s Youth Guarantee programme had grown from 74 equivalent full-time students in 2010 to 204 in 2013 while the Trades Academy, opened with 245 students in 2012, had 368 enrolled in the following year.

Blakeley says the review boosts EIT’s confidence in continuing to provide high quality educational programmes tailored to the needs of the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti communities.

Check out what all the fuss is about at the FutureCOL open day in Flaxmere, Hastings.


FutureCOL will be at the Flaxmere Community Centre & FlaXrock Gym all day next Monday (18 May) for people to learn more about the options they offer for tertiary study.

From cooking, business management and computing, it's a great environment for study right here in Hastings‪#‎futurecol‬‪#‎flaxmerecommunitycentre‬‪#‎tertiarystudy‬

Come and say "hi" as there will be heaps of cool stuff happening, a chance to get some free food (or a free coffee), and we will fill you in on all the awesomeness that is FutureCOL.

See you there!

Students enjoy a taste of EIT Hawke's Bay


EIT’s recent holiday workshops attracted some 80 high school students, giving them the opportunity to explore career and study options.

Hands-on practical workshops covered nursing, hairdressing, styling, grape growing and winemaking, social work, business and agriculture.

Students were also able to meet teaching staff and view on-campus facilities.

Year 13 Napier Girls’ High School student Joanna McLeod enjoyed her experience of wine-making. She started the process of making a red wine and also checked sulphur dioxide levels in wine made by high school students at a taster workshop last year.

EIT will be holding the taster workshops again in July.

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