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New Zealand groups honoured for Indonesian disaster recovery work

10 September 2008

Two Wellington-based groups have been honoured for their work in Indonesia following the devastating tsunami and earthquake.

Earthquake Engineering New Zealand (EENZ) and Natural Hazards New Zealand (NHNZ) received a certificate of appreciation from the Indonesian Government at a function in Wellington last night.

Earthquake Engineering NZ Chairman David Hopkins and Co-chair of Natural Hazards NZ, Dr Noel Trustrum, of GNS Science, accepted the award on behalf of the group at the function held to celebrate Indonesia's 63rd year of independence and 50 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Indonesia.

Both groups are involved in international disaster recovery and preparedness work around the world. They bring together specialist skills from around New Zealand and have a particular interest in developing countries where the consequences of natural events can be catastrophic.

Several of the groups' specialists were in Indonesia just weeks after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and then the 2005 Nias and 2006 Yogykarta earthquakes.

Work of members in Indonesia has included protecting and restoring water supplies, earthquake architectural design and training, earthquake risk assessment and community disaster risk reduction. This included a scoping mission following the tsunami to look at projects that would help hard-hit communities rebuild their lives after the initial recovery phase, earthquake advisory services in Nias and assistance to local communities in Yogyakarta to better prepare for future natural hazard events.

"The track record of our members working with communities in Indonesia pre-dates the 2004 and 2005 events. Twenty-five years ago we helped Indonesia prepare and disseminate its first earthquake building code. Thirty-seven years ago another member worked on mitigating the effects of volcanic eruptions and lahars on the slopes of Mt Merapi," said Dr Trustrum.

Just last month the group helped set up and hold a conference in Indonesia on Promoting Initiatives in Disaster Risk Management. Twenty-five New Zealanders, including Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker and Wellington Regional Council Chair, Fran Wilde attended this event, initiated by the Ambassador of Indonesia in Wellington, His Excellency Mr Amris Hassan. It was a most successful event in sharing the knowledge and experiences that Indonesia and New Zealand specialists had gained in disaster recovery and preparedness.


The conference resulted in over twenty new initiatives in disaster risk management for the New Zealand groups' members and it identified many areas where Indonesia and New Zealand could work together to reduce the impacts of tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

"The high profile of the conference and workshop gave unparalleled access to senior decision makers in the Indonesian Government and other agencies involved in disaster risk management in Indonesia, Asia and the Pacific. Together we are also looking at how our combined skills can also be applied in other countries in South East Asia and the Pacific," says Earthquake Engineering NZ Chairman Dr David Hopkins.

The Conference and Workshop in Jakarta was strongly supported by:

  • The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Agency of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for Aceh and Nias (BRR NAD-Nias)
  • Earthquake Engineering NZ
  • Natural Hazards NZ

along with support from

  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Grow Wellington.


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