PO Box 108 - 11 Mount Cook Street
Twizel New Zealand
Phone 64 3 4353 227 Fax 64 3 4353 227



Haikai Tane

Centre for Catchment Ecology
Watershed Systems Ltd, Waitaki Basin

Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Development
Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland

About the Author: Haikai Tane is an honors graduate in geography and a law graduate from the Australian National University, Canberra, and a post graduate in science, (ecology and planning) from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Haikai Tane has surveyed, mapped and modeled watershed catchments using geospatial technologies such as remote sensing and GIS since the early 1970ís. Haikaiís expertise researching and developing geospatial systems for watershed catchments has attracted international recognition and awards. In May 2000 Haikai was inaugaurated as Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Development at the Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland.




The purpose of this project is to develop integrated methods for assessing natural hazards using geospatial technologies such as remote sensing and GIS. The case study area is urban Twizel and the surrounding rural environs of Ruataniwha. The natural hazards included in the study include earthquake, flood, fire, wind storm, tempest and solar radiation. .


Natural hazards are normal events. Some are created by extreme meteorological conditions, for example, hot, dry windy weather in combination with excessive fuel build-up, create wild fire hazards threatening life and property. Some are unpredictable like earthquake and extreme solar radiation. Some natural hazards are invisible like solar radiation and ecotoxicity. Often, their effects are only realized when it is too late.

To ensure that notice and publicity given to wild fire risks and other natural hazards do not unduly alarm residents or frighten visitors, it is important they be assessed and compared to other natural hazards, such as earthquake, storms, floods, gales and solar radiation. By this approach it is possible to prepare balanced guidelines for natural hazard management including coordinated plans for emergency services.


  1. Assess local meteorological conditions for natural hazards, including their relationships to hazards such as flooding wild fire and solar radiation. (Mountain Education Center)
  2. Assess local hydrological conditions for natural hazards, including their relationships to hazards such as flooding, storm and tempest, (Center for Catchment Ecology).
  3. Assess local landscape and habitat conditions for natural hazards, including their relationships to hazards such as phytotoxicity, pyrophytic properties, contaminated sites, and seismic instability (Center for Catchment Ecology).
  4. Assess local infrastructure systems for susceptibility to natural hazards including their relationships to environmental health and safety (environmental engineering )


Terrain and habitat maps will be produced based on natural hazard risk assessments. This information will be used to develop natural hazard management guidelines

Project Management

The Project will be undertaken by a small interdisciplinary team of professionals and supervised trainees experienced in the assessment of natural hazards.

Example of Steps (Wildfire Hazards)

  1. Prepare a project flow chart and project schedule of key milestones.
  2. Develop a true image digital mapping system at 1:25,000 with high resolution enlargement capabilities to 1:5,000.
  3. Consult with key stakeholders.
  4. Use field based surveys and remote sensing technology to map the landscape, habitats and vegetation communities.
  5. Assess wildfire hazards in relation to land use activities and vegetation communities for each landscape.
  6. Determine landscape habitats and related activities generating high risks of wildfire.
  7. Prepare landscape and habitat guidelines for reducing wildfire risks.




Seasonal guidelines for managing wildfire hazards in the Twizel area.

  1. Winter newsletter reminder to prepare now for managing wildfire risks over summer. Spring is often busy in the garden, so winter is the time to prepare your fire hazard risk management strategy. Clear drains of leaves and litter, clear rank growth, compost organic wastes, low prune moderate fire risk trees, high prune high fire risk trees to be retained, finish pruning and thinning. Locate firewood stacks away from house and other fire hazards. The time is now for clearing undergrowth and those big bonfires, but remember take care of changing winds.
  2. Spring newsletter reminder to maintain control of rank grass among trees and shrubs. Complete spring plantings, OH&S pruning; check hoses and fire gear, take time to review your fire risk management strategy, internally and externally.
  3. Summer Newsletter reminder to check all fire fighting equipment, check machinery muffler systems and fit spark-arresters where needed. Review all fire hazards at the beginning of December and set in place your plan for the summer.
  4. Autumn newsletter reminder to draw attention to new grass growth and how it can become a fire hazard. Clear way those thinnings and prunings, chipping and mulching surplus materials.
  5. Record Wildfire Events for example, GRASSLAND WILDFIRE Monday 16 August 1999 3.00 pm. The fire siren blows long and a quick reconnaissance from an elevated position reveals dense smoke in the north-west arch area. Camera, coat and car away, weather cold near zero, low cloud. The volunteer fire brigade has a grass fire in the town belt, west of Glencairn Road, under control. The fire moved quickly driven along by the cold surging southerly winds; leaving a patchwork of black burnt grass. Few trees or broom burnt, not flammable. The fire consumed grass and organic matter accumulated over thin skeletal soils and glacial outwash gravels. Firefighters and tankers, smoke and stream were finally met by cold wet sleet from the south by 3.30pm. RHT .



PO Box 108 - 11 Mount Cook Street
Twizel New Zealand

Phone 64 3 4353 227 Fax 64 3 4353 227



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