Extreme Weather Research Platform

In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle a bungalow is surrounded by mud and forestry slash, the windows of the house are broken and the contents spilling out, a ute is on its side buried in brown pine branches/
Cyclone Gabrielle aftermath, Eskdale, Hawkes Bay. February 2023 by Leonie Clough

Researcher and writer

Synthesizing research from a variety of disciplines and institutions is one of my favourite things to do. My aim is always to contribute to clear, evidence-based policy-making and implementation.

In February 2023, as part of the ongoing response to extreme weather events in the North Island, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reallocated $10.8 million for urgent scientific research and data collection. The funding was distributed across several different projects as the Extreme Weather Research Platform and is being coordinated by Climate Sigma and Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge.

Part of this funding is for creating policy briefs that summarise recent research about recovery post-disasters. A wide variety of scientific research has examined response and recovery after the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, COVID, and Cyclone Gabrielle. I am bringing together experts and their research to write up how this research can best be applied by policy makers in future disasters.

The first brief is on food systems security and disaster recovery. The headline finding is that, while Aotearoa New Zealand has built up regional emergency recovery experience and plans, in the case of a national disaster we are unprepared to cope with the widespread food insecurity that is likely to result.

We need to future proof funding for food system resilience, enhance food system sovereignty and equity, and advance food system diversity.

The second brief is on housing in the three months post-disaster and will be launched shortly. Forthcoming briefs will likely include infrastructure, psycho-social recovery, and adaptive planning.