Attending QuakeCoRE Annual Meeting as a new Post-Doc

“Half of us today attended the QuakeCoRE meeting last year, the other half are here for the first time – many crossed continents to join us,” announced Professor Brendon Bradley, QuakeCoRE Deputy Director, before dinner on the first day of the 3-days meeting in Taupo, September 2017.

Our new Postdoctoral Researcher Saree Lawler was part of the latter group, although her claim of travelling only gets as exciting as only a Christchurch-Auckland-Taupo route could offer.

Nevertheless, Saree had a positive experience and would describe the Taupo gathering as a wonderful meeting of minds. The overall atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, the chats were thought-provoking and insightful, the posters were high-quality,  offering a glimpse into the social/economic side of seismic resilience research, and catering was excellent (as voted as well by several colleagues from the U.S. - think 6-hour slow-cooked beef with steamed greens and pearl couscous, finished with scrumptious pav, among others).

But Saree of course also focused on the more serious issues at hand throughout the three days. Some other highlights were:

  • A most distinguished lecture from Emeritus Professor Masayoshi Nakashima of Kyoto University on a Japanese way of establishing resilient cities.
  • An insightful keynote presentation on earthquake resilience in the Maori community from Tā Mark Solomon (Kaiwhakahaere, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu).
  • A workshop on different financial tools for earthquake resilience from different sectors (treasury, academia, insurance and independent research groups), chaired by Ken Elwood, QuakeCoRE Director. It was an all-day workshop, but it was so well worth it that the room remained overfull to the close at 4 pm.
  • Five excellent plenary sessions on key subjects including earthquake preparedness planning and post-event decision making, risk mitigation and transfer, future policy, research and practice, and interdepencies in raising seismic resilience. Erica Seville, ResOrgs Director, gave a talk in the last plenary session about modelling the long-term ‘unquantifiable and uncertain’ future, arguing for a shift from models that fixate on discrete, time-bound outcomes to ones that incorporate fluid decision dynamics.
  • An opportunity to ask for feedback on the prototype of the Resilience Menu project as part of the ResOrgs poster presentation at the meeting.

All in all, a most productive trip to the beautiful Taupo where Huka Falls mesmerise, Lake Taupo wows, and the thermal pools beckon. Saree would love to go back next year, and be able to say ‘I was here last year and loving it’ like many attendees did.