Director’s Award for Innovation Recipients

Director’s Awards for Innovation are awarded for exceptional innovation or creativity that has pushed the boundaries of current CDEM practice in New Zealand.

2018 recipients

Auckland Emergency Management for Recovery Walkthrough

Cardno New Zealand Ltd and Wellington Water Ltd for Infrastructure Resilience: keeping water flowing to 400,000 people following a major earthquake in Wellington

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office Community Resilience Team for the development of programmes to improve community readiness and response

Whakatāne District Recovery Project Team for their work on the Liveable Homes Project and wider Whakatāne District Recovery.

2017 Recipients

Tauranga City Council and Tonkin + Taylor Limited

Awarded for: mitigating tsunami risk.

Until recently, thousands of people would have been at risk from a local source tsunami in the Mount Maunganui area However,due to the work of the Council and Tonkin + Taylor, that risk has been substantially reduced.

 More than 46,000 people live on the coastal plain spanning from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa. A tsunami resulting from a local source earthquake could inundate parts of Mauao and Wairakei within 60 minutes or less.

Over the past four years, Tauranga City Council, led by Paul Baunton, has been focussed on building resilience to tsunamis. In 2014, work began with GNS Science undertaking research to quantify the size of a tsunami that could result from a large local source earthquake.

The Council then contracted Tonkin + Taylor to carry out numerical modelling which simulated the flow of a potential tsunami, and identified areas above or outside the inundation zone. Using a Geographic Information Systems model, they were also able to determine how long it would take residents to reach safe areas, how many would use the evacuations routes, and how many would arrive at the various safe areas.

A pedestrian-based evacuation network was developed which lead people to sixteen safe assembly points. Some of these points are located outside the inundation zone, while Vertical Evacuation Structures such as Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa use raised land to protect lives and are the first to be constructed outside of Japan and the Pacific North-West of America. Prominent signage reminds people of the tsunami risk and outlines the likely extent of the inundation size.

Public education has been critical: there have been a number of open days and feedback has been positive.  Further work is planned, including three more Vertical Evacuation Structures in Wairakei, further signage, and additional bridges and evacuation routes.

Congratulations to Tauranga City Council and Tonkin + Taylor Limited. Your work will help to keep your communities safe, and it is my pleasure to present the Director’s Award for Innovation to you tonight.  

2016 Recipients

David Askin

Following the February 2011 earthquakes, David saw a need for communities to be better connected, organised and prepared to help themselves and each other.  David created the Gets Ready software and the Selwyn Gets Ready website.  The website allows users to securely record their household contact details and any special needs, resources and skills they have and are willing to share during an emergency.

David’s local community, Darfield, embraced the system with hundreds of households signing up.  Selwyn District Council recognised the value of David’s website and decided to promote it across the District.  There are now over 5,900 households signed up to Selwyn Gets Ready, that’s around a third of all households in the District.

Selwyn District Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management team find Selwyn Gets Ready is an invaluable tool to alert Selwyn residents to important information that will directly affect them.  Situation reports from the community can be sent to Selwyn District Council via the website or the mobile app.  This empowers communities to take care of themselves, while providing tools to request help should they need it.

Selwyn Gets Ready was the dream of one community minded man with a vision to help his community become better prepared and connected.  With the help of his community, David has realised that dream.  It fits with the New Zealand system of emergency management in that it allows communities to be involved in the emergency management process and it contributes significantly to community readiness, response and recovery.


RibRaft TC3 was conceptualised on a paper napkin on a flight following a visit to Christchurch in the wake of the devastating 2011 earthquakes.  Realising the idea had real practical appeal, Jon Hambling, Dene Cook, Andrew Moss and Dominic Sutton further developed the concept of an adjustable residential concrete flooring system. Whilst the first project was cast in Christchurch, the RibRaft TC3 system is now being used nationwide on thousands of projects. 

This fully re-levelable twin slab flooring system is a world first.  In the event of a house settling following a strong earthquake, it can readily be re-levelled without removing cladding or internal walls.  The double slab system is stiff and easily resists deformations induced by post-earthquake settlement.  The RibRaft TC3 therefore reduces the risk of earthquake damage and reduces the impact of a disaster on the home occupants by providing resilience.  In case of excessive settlements the upper slab contains cast-in jacks that can be accessed with minimal disruption to the home owners.  The ability to relevel a home quickly and without the need for intrusive and prolonged measures enables rapid emergency response and recovery.

RibRaft TC3 enables homeowners to quickly and readily repair significant damage and continue to live in their home following an emergency.  This innovative solution gives effect, in an evolutionary way, to civil defence emergency management principles supporting families to stay in their home environment. 

The Firth RibRaft TC3 solution provides an excellent and truly innovative building platform that will enable families to continue to occupy their homes, and quickly and cheaply repair significant earthquake damage.