A team of New Zealand specialists is to spend 10 days in the earthquake-hit region of Turkey collecting information
aimed at helping New Zealand minimise the impact of a similar disaster.
Led by Dr Richard Sharpe, Principal of Beca Consultants in Wellington, the eight-strong team will travel under the
auspices of the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering and observe effects on buildings, infrastructure, and the
The magnitude 7.4 earthquake has chilling similarities to the type and size of earthquake that could hit many New
There are more than 40 population centres in New Zealand within 10km of an active fault. Some centres, such as
Wellington, have multiple active faults running through or near them.
The last big earthquake to hit a populated area in New Zealand was in Hawke’s Bay in 1931. Since then increases in
population and complexity of urban centres mean that our vulnerability is far greater than in the past.
The team will be keen to observe the performance of buildings, bridges, power supplies, water and sewer networks, and
transport facilities – especially those of comparable engineering standard to those in New Zealand.
As with recent reconnaissance visits to other disaster scenes such as Papua New Guinea and Colombia, the team will share
their findings with New Zealand colleagues and the public and make recommendations for changes in New Zealand.
Team organiser Dr David Hopkins said the horrendous damage and loss of life in Turkey was a reminder that New Zealanders
should take the threat of a large earthquake seriously.
“ We face the prospect of having to cope with massive damage, deaths, and injuries at many locations simultaneously.
“ New Zealand must take all reasonable steps to be prepared. This means reducing risks by devoting resources to
research, engineering design, and properly supervised construction.”
The team is scheduled to leave on September 10. Team members and their main responsibilities are:
Richard Sharpe, Beca Consultants, Wellington – structural response and performance
Kevin McManus, University of Canterbury – geotechnical aspects
Russ Van Dissen, Institute of Geologocal & Nuclear Sciences - seismology, geology
David Bradshaw, Sinclair Knight Merz, Auckland – industrial buildings and facilities
Tan Pham, AC Consulting Group, Wellington – electrical distribution networks
Craig Stevenson, Connell Wagner, Auckland – commercial and other building elements/building services
Don Kirkcaldie, Opus International, Wellington – bridges, roading networks
Neil Brown, Civil Defence Manager, Dunedin City Council – emergency management preparedness.