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.

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Support from our partners at the Earthquake Commission and Auckland Council make this project possible.

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 aspirational objectives of the programme:

  1. We are confident in knowing the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF)
  2. Our diverse society knows, understands and trusts our science
  3. People will behave appropriately in a volcanic crisis
  4. People understand and appropriately mitigate risk and consequence in language/formats that suit their needs
  5. Auckland Council, Businesses and individuals have anticipated, prepared for and are able to respond and recover – planning appropriately
  6. DEVORA supports ‘Resilient Auckland’
  7. Auckland continues to thrive following any NZ eruption
  8. Our science has wider benefits
  9. Auckland is linked in to other major hazard programmes, aligned to DEVORA
  10. We are confident in knowing other volcanic threats to Auckland

Achieving these goals 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

Earthquake Commission

GNS Science

University of Auckland

Massey University


Relevant links:


Auckland Council Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group

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