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Massey does multi-disciplinary applied research to understand the impacts of natural, man-made and environmental disasters on communities. We work with our affiliates to improve the way societies manage disaster reduction, readiness, response and recovery.

Research expertise

Community hazards education and planning

We specialise in participatory methods and risk perception research, and the development of scenarios and training tools around volcanic eruptions.


Disaster risk and science communication

Disaster risk and science communication is the communication of science advice for individual and organisational decision-making during natural hazard events. Our projects include the communication of probability forecasts, communication of uncertain science advice, the use of hypothetical scenarios to explore effective communication, and the public response to aftershock information.


Hazard awareness and education

We measure community understanding of, and preparedness for, natural hazards including volcanic eruptions. We specialise in participatory methods and risk perception research. Our results are used to develop scenarios, training tools and educational strategies for groups including communities, businesses and schools.


Health and safety of buildings

Our research is investigating passive preventative systems which are part of the structure of a building. For instance how buildings can be designed to help prevent the spread of fire, indoor air quality and building resistance to earthquakes.


Māori and Indigenous risk reduction and disaster management

The Indigenous Disaster Risk Management team engages with Māori communities and other Indigenous peoples to explore the role culture plays in facilitating disaster preparedness, risk mitigation, emergency management, disaster recovery and community resilience in the context of humanitarian, health and natural hazard events.


Planning and policy

Resources for planners to achieve risk reduction, using hazard research by GNS Science, NIWA and other collaborators. Our resources help planners make effective land-use planning decisions where natural hazards can have an impact. Projects include writing national guidelines, frameworks for pre-event recovery planning, and promoting the integration of land-use planning with emergency management.


Psychosocial support after disasters

Research into the psychosocial impact of disasters on health care and social welfare professionals. We advise agencies including the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health.


Social networking tools

We specialise in the use and impact of social networking tools in a disaster context. Our team focuses on people's interactions with information and communication technologies, and how this can contribute to a resilient culture. Our key area is public information-seeking activities and the self-organising capabilities of disaster-affected communities.


Social work in disaster/emergency management

Disaster/emergency management is focused on creating frameworks that can reduce the community’s vulnerability to hazards and support them in coping with emergencies. Our research examines how social workers have been effective contributors in times of disaster/emergency in New Zealand and the importance of strengthening interprofessional relationships to advance current policy and practice.


Understanding community resilience

We develop tools and guidelines to empower communities to become resilient to natural hazard events. Our research focuses on understanding the factors that enable a community to withstand the consequences of natural hazards. We also research local, regional and national factors that influence communities.



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Research degrees

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Research projects


We work with the following organisations:

Publications and reports

Find detailed published material from staff and students at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research.

Publications and reports

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Departments and staff

Find out more about the departments and staff involved in emergency management at Massey.

Research centres

    International Centre of Excellence in Community Resilience

    The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk International Centre of Excellence in Community Resilience aims to discover how a community makes itself resilient to disasters.

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    Joint Centre for Disaster Research

    The Joint Centre for Disaster Research is an international centre for research and teaching in disaster risk and emergency management. It is a joint venture between Massey University School of Psychology and GNS Science.

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