Enhancing earthquake and tsunami preparedness and response in Kura Kaupapa Māori/Schools Aotearoa New Zealand: learnings from the 5 March 2021 East Cape earthquake sequence
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Aotearoa New Zealand is exposed to numerous potentially damaging impacts from various hazard events. The east coast of the North Island, one of the most active seismic regions in New Zealand, faces significant earthquake and tsunami risk. Given the variety of hazards the regions face, how risks are managed within schools needs to be considered. This research aims to understand the challenges and opportunities for enhancing earthquake and tsunami preparedness and response in Te Tairāwhiti/ Waiāriki Kura Kaupapa Māori/ Schools. Ten schools were visited from Gisborne to Matata in August 2021. Information was collected from a hui with school staff and invited members of the school Board of Trustees. Topics included tsunami zones, evacuation practice, resources for teachers, planning at home, school response plans, stakeholder involvement, and capability development. Their reflections on the 5 March 2021 earthquakes and tsunami warnings were also covered. Initial analysis of the interviews reveals long-standing knowledge of earthquakes and tsunami risk, experience from past events and various risk management strategies for future events as well as insight on how isolated Māori communities collectively respond to disasters. There was a desire for further knowledge about what future events may look like and ways to prepare schools and the wider community. A return visit is planned for late 2022.