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Note: Special Project 1 was previously referred to as Flagship 6

Leader: Liam Wotherspoon
Deputy Leader: Roger Fairclough, Neoleaf



The resilience of lifeline networks (electric power, transportation, telecommunications (ICT), potable water, stormwater/wastewater, and liquefied/gas fuels) and other distributed infrastructure (flood control networks) play a critical role in the ability of society to rapidly recover after a major disaster. The research in this project will be directed toward developing tools to assess the performance of spatially-distributed infrastructure networks subject to extreme natural hazards.

This research is funded under the Resilience to Nature's Challenges National Science Challenge ( and therefore has a focus on a range of extreme natural hazards along with earthquakes. Working closely with relevant stakeholders we will develop methodologies to quantify system-level performance of nationally critical infrastructure when subject to natural hazards and cascading impacts, leading to improved resilience of communities through identification of multi-hazard related vulnerabilities in infrastructure critical for NZ society. Critical infrastructure asset owners do not currently have methods to fully quantify resilience of key components and trickle-down impacts of their disruption due to natural hazards. Nor are there consistent methods to measure and monitor infrastructure resilience within or across infrastructure types, organisations, or investment criteria to assess the merits of different options to improve resilience. System-level resilience methodology outputs will be based on local (or component) level quantification of vulnerabilities, and mechanistic models for the interactions between the components of the network system. 


Our goal is to develop an improved understanding of the resilience of spatially-distributed infrastructure networks to extreme natural hazards through new methodologies and application to New Zealand-specific critical infrastructure.  In the face of New Zealand’s unique natural hazard environment, and based on engineering science evidence, this project will enable New Zealanders to anticipate critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, and protect and transform the built environment to support thriving communities. The impact of this project will result from the robust quantification of infrastructure network resilience, and importantly, explicit insight into optimization of pre-disaster mitigation and post-disaster targeted repair strategies which will minimize the consequences of infrastructure network inoperability.

Current Projects

Overall research update - 2019

3 Waters Summary - link

Flood Defence Summary - link

Electricity Summary - link

Transportation Summary - link

Multi-Infrastructure Summary - link

Direct Funding

  • Seismic fragility models for New Zealand bridges (Lew - UA, Wotherspoon - UA, Al-Ani - OPUS)  Conference 1     Poster 1     Journal 1
  • Characterisation of failure modes for New Zealand stopbank construction (Ting - UA, Melville - UA, Shamseldin - UA, Whittaker - UA)
  • Minimising public health risks from human waste after a large Wellington Fault earthquake (Brenin - Mas, Horswell - Mas, Stewart - Mas, Johnston - Mas, Wotherspoon - UA)    Poster 1


Completed Projects

Monthly Meetings and Workshops

Related Efforts

Other Presentations 

Requests for Proposals



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