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Local ‘citizen scientists’ keen on quake project

A workshop aimed at gauging Tairawhiti residents' willingness to help out in a “citizen science” approach to a potential earthquake warning system has been hailed a success.

Researchers are conducting a project, co-funded by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Massey University, to source low-cost seismometers and work with communities to see if they would be willing to be part of a research project aiming to trial an earthquake early warning sensor network.

Speaking after Thursday night's workshop at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club ,Dr Marion Tan from Massey University's Joint Centre for Disaster Research said the night went well.

“We had 18 participants in total for the workshop.

“The workshop is part of a research project that is studying the feasibility of a community-engaged earthquake early warning (EEW) system that uses low-cost ground motion detection sensors.

“The workshop is designed to unpick participants' thoughts on their expectations, needs and concerns regarding EEW for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“One of the key things for me is that the participants have a good awareness of tsunami risks for Gisborne.

“There is support for earthquake early warning but for it to be useful for the community here, the participants highlighted that it needs to be tied with tsunami warning.”

Further workshops are being held across New Zealand.

SENSING: Dr Marion Tan from Massey University's Joint Centre for Disaster Research with one of the low-cost ground-motion sensors that could form part of an earthquake early warning system. Also pictured are Massey University Associate Professors Tim Parkin and Anna Brown, who assisted Dr Tan with a workshop at Waikanae Surf Lifesaving Club to assess interest in community engagement for such a system. Picture by Liam Clayton