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Contact details +64 (04) 801 5799  ext. 63672

Prof David Johnston PhD, MSc, BSc

Director/Professor of Disaster Management

School of Psychology

Professor David Johnston is a Senior Scientist at GNS Science (New Zealand’s Geological Survey) and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in the School of Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. His research has developed as part of multi-disciplinary theoretical and applied research programme, involving the collaboration of physical and social scientists from several organisations and countries.  His research focuses on human responses to volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather warnings, crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery. David is the Chair of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee (IRDR), a programme co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISCC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster reduction (UNISDR); on New Zealand’s Royal Society Social Science Advisory Panel; the Editor of The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies; and founding Editor of the Journal of Applied Volcanology.

Professor David Johnston is a Senior Scientist at GNS Science (New Zealand’s Geological Survey) and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in the School of Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. His research has developed as part of multi-disciplinary theoretical and applied research programme, involving the collaboration of physical and social scientists from several organisations and countries.  His research focuses on human responses to volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather warnings, crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery.

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Professional

Contact details

  • Location: T20
    Campus: Wellington

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (1998)
  • Master of Science - University of Canterbury (1990)
  • Bachelor of Science - University of Canterbury (1988)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Not Specified 0 1
Project Leader 14 24
Team Member 0 2

Current Projects

Project Title: Understanding the impact of recent events and initiatives: Christchurch Earthquake; Kaikoura Earthquake; New Zealand Shake Out drill; and Emerging Technologies

Date Range: 2018 - 2019

Funding Body: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: NSC - Culture: Cultural Resilience (Resilience to Nature's Challenges National Science Challenge)

Date Range: 2016 - 2019

Funding Body: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd

Project Team:

Project Title: Understanding Factors that Build Resilience in New Zealand

This project will consolidate and add to knowledge about resilient communities in New Zealand, across the continuum of hazard mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery -with a particular focus on indigenous knowledge. Building on research on the Canterbury earthquakes, the Rena oil spill, responses to economic shocks, and recovery from natural hazard events the research will investigate post-disaster community resilience in urban, rural and Maori communities: a large urban area (Christchurch City) a secondary urban area of Kaiapoi and amongst Ngai Tahu; the resilience of a mostly rural community to climatic events such as droughts and floods (Central Hawke¿s Bay District); and the resilience of a small, predominantly Maori community, to economic shocks (Murupara). The research team will work with each community to explore and document existing experiences and knowledge, towards informing emergency planning and disaster management. This will incorporate a number of embedded institutions. Research partnerships with these communities are likely to highlight particular perspectives such as a dependence of the individual on the whole, social connectedness (whakapapa and whanaungatanga), and responsibilities for guardianship of the environment (kaitiakitanga). Stakeholder reference groups will provide cultural advice and support for research processes. Combinations of hui, interviews and focus groups will be used to gauge communities, understandings of characteristics and attributes of resilient communities, what they can do to help build a resilient community, and how they can improve a community's resilience. Douglas Paton's eight domains of resilience will be used as a framework for developing a New Zealand specific model of community resilience factors. Community research partners will make recommendations on the development of measures for facilitating and evaluating community resilience, and the dissemination of research findings to key institutions.
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Date Range: 2012 - 2014

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Project Title: Dynamics of an effective risk communication campaign for influenza A (H1N1)

In the event of an H1N1 pandemic there is a need to ensure there are robust communication plans in place.
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Date Range: 2010 - 2010

Funding Body: Health Research Council of New Zealand

Project Team:

Project Title: Living with Volcanic Risk

Facing the Challenge of Auckland¿s Volcanism: A 3-year program that will use a `sister volcano' approach with a volcanic field in South Korea to better understand the behaviour, evolution and time.
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Date Range: 2004 - 2015

Funding Bodies: Foundation for Research, Science & Technology; Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 6 6
Co-supervisor 4 7

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Kate Akers - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the need for, availability of, and interpretation of information by the public during large scale hazard events; co-production methods for risk mitigation and preparedness implementation.
  • Bruce Pepperell - Doctor of Philosophy
    Thriving under crises: Leadership challenges and opportunities during extreme events
  • Lisa McLaren - Doctor of Philosophy
    The science of extreme citizen science
  • Lesley Gray - Doctor of Philosophy
    Preparing for the big one: disaster risk reduction considerations for people with high body mass in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Miles Crawford - Doctor of Philosophy
    How Risk Informs Natural Hazard Management: A study of the interface between risk modelling for tsunami inundation and local government natural hazard management
  • Hayley Squance - Doctor of Philosophy
    Enhancing multi-agency collaboration in Animal Welfare Emergency Management

Co-supervisor of:

  • Richard Mowll - Doctor of Philosophy
    Quantifying individual and household planning recommendations for infrastructure service delivery in a post-event response and recovery concext
  • Nilani Hewa Algiriyage - Doctor of Philosophy
    Cross Domain Data Fusion and Analytics of Social Media in Disaster Management
  • Sara Harrison - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the role of non- traditional data sources in impact modelling and impact-based warnings for natural hazards
  • Marion Tan - Doctor of Philosophy
    Usability of disaster apps: Understanding the perspectives of the public as end-users

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Nancy Brown - Doctor of Philosophy
    Disaster Resilience in the Hotel Sector: A Mixed Methods Study
  • 2019 - Mina Adhikari - Doctor of Philosophy
    Modelling Earthquake Hazard Preparedness in Recovery Period in Nepal
  • 2019 - Alan Kwok - Doctor of Philosophy
    Assessing social resilience to disasters at the neighbourhood level: Co-producing a resilience assessment framework
  • 2014 - Victoria Johnson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Evaluating Disaster Education Programs for Children
  • 2014 - Stuart Fraser - Doctor of Philosophy
    Informing the development of tsunami vertical evacuation strategies in New Zealand
  • 2012 - Heather Taylor - Doctor of Philosophy
    Children's Experiences of Flooding in Surakarta, Indonesia

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2017 - Sara McBride - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Canterbury Tales: An insider's lessons and reflections from the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence to inform better public communication models
  • 2017 - Karlene Tipler - Doctor of Philosophy
    Emergency Preparedness and Response in New Zealand Schools
  • 2016 - Thomas Huggins - Doctor of Philosophy
    Optimising Visual Solutions for Complex Strategic Scenarios
  • 2016 - Maureen Mooney - Doctor of Philosophy
    Getting through: Children and youth post-disaster effective coping and adaption in the context of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2012
  • 2015 - James Hudson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Te Paewai o te Rangi: A Framework for Measuring Iwi Outcomes
  • 2014 - Robyn Tuohy - Doctor of Philosophy
    The influence of personal and socio-cultural contexts on older adults' preparedness for a disaster
  • 2012 - Yasir Javed - Doctor of Philosophy
    Design and Evaluation of Mass Evacuation Support Systems Using Ontologies for improved Situation Awareness

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