DEtermining VOlcanic Risk in Auckland (DEVORA) is a multi-agency, transdisciplinary collaborative research programme led by volcanologists at the University of Auckland and GNS Science. The official project launch took place on Thursday, 6 November 2008.

Expert researchers from across New Zealand and beyond are working together to provide a much-improved assessment of volcanic hazard and risk in the Auckland metropolitan area, and a strategy and rationale for appropriate risk mitigation. DEVORA researchers work with Auckland Emergency Management to incorporate findings into policy, and with lifelines organisations and businesses to improve their resistance and resilience to volcanic disasters.

Support from our partners at Toka Tū Ake EQC and Auckland Council makes this project possible.

Intro Image

Why is this project important?

The city of Auckland is built on the potentially active Auckland Volcanic Field. It is also vulnerable to ash fall from other North Island volcanoes. As Auckland provides over 1/3 of the nation’s gross domestic product, is a major transport and economic hub, and is home to over 1.6 million people, a volcanic eruption would place the nation’s economy and the city’s infrastructure and population at risk.

Findings have the potential to enhance our understanding of volcanic fields like Auckland’s, improve business decision-making and risk management practices, as well as make Auckland a safer place.

What are we doing?

Scientists, emergency managers, economists, and other experts and stakeholders across New Zealand (and beyond) are working together to achieve the following aims:

  1. Recognise patterns and precursors that signal an impending eruption
  2. Identify the biggest volcanic threats to Auckland locally and nationally from future Auckland and other New Zealand eruptions
  3. Support the development of risk-management, preparedness, response and recovery plans
  4. Educate the public so that our diverse society trusts and understands our science and knows how to behave appropriately during a volcanic event

Achieving these aims involves investigating the answers to four major questions:

Why do we have eruptions in Auckland?: We are gathering data to explain how, why, and how often and how fast magma moves to the surface in the Auckland Volcanic Field.

What happens when a volcano erupts in Auckland?: We are studying past eruptions (timing, size, location, volcanic deposits) to recognise patterns, likely eruption precursors, and to identify the biggest threats to Auckland from future eruptions.

What are the potential impacts of a future Auckland eruption?: We are compiling information on Auckland’s built and social environment and combining it with the answers to the above questions to describe how an eruption would affect Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. We aim to create practical knowledge that informs tools that will help emergency managers and lifeline organisations make life-saving decisions before, during, and after an eruption.

How can we communicate our science effectively?: We are investigating how best to present our findings to other scientists, stakeholders, and the public in a clear, concise manner, in formats that are easily understood and tailored to the intended audience.

Our Funding Partners:

Auckland Council

Toka Tū Ake EQC

GNS Science

University of Auckland


Relevant links:


Auckland Council Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group

Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management

International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN)
Repository of advice and resources on volcanic health hazards. Team members Carol Stewart and Shane Cronin are the key points of contact.

Auckland Lifelines Group, and its subgroup, the Volcanic Impacts Study Group

QuakeCore: NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience