fbpx Ambassador Westlake | LEARNZ

Ambassador Westlake

Hi everyone,

I am Westlake the geo-buddie representing our Westlake social science class. My aim is to travel far and wide so I'm looking forward to my journey to the wild West Coast of the South Island. I can't wait to see the mighty Southern Alps and find out more about the Alpine Fault, which has recently been found to be the world's fastest moving land fault. I'm hoping the fault won't move during the field trip!

Chat soon,


Monday 8 August

Kia ora koutou,

I am not usually keen on early starts but today I was awake and eager to begin our journey across the mainland. Luckily we left the low cloud behind as we flew out of Dunedin and enjoyed fantastic views out across the Southern Alps. Snow smothered the mountains and it made me want to go skiing.

Before long we arrived in Christchurch and it was even colder than in Dunedin! After leaving the city we headed west and I found my new favourite shop – The Famous Sheffield Pie Shop. By the time we reached Springfield snow covered the ground and it was even colder. Driving across Porters Pass was like entering a winter wonderland. 

Now I am at Arthur’s Pass ready to explore the Alpine Fault.

Chat tomorrow,


Tuesday 9 August

Kia ora,

I couldn’t believe how cold it was this morning. It was so frosty that I just about slipped over walking to the car. We had a fantastic day though once the sun warmed things up. 

I was able to walk across the Alpine Fault and find out more about when the next Alpine Fault earthquake will be; it’s not a case of if but when. I found out that the last earthquake on this fault was in 1717 and on average the fault ruptures every 330 years so you can do the maths (not that Mother Nature follows averages!).

Tomorrow we are off to look for evidence of landslides and tsunami.

See you then,


Wednesday 10 August

Kia ora,

It was another stunning day on the West Coast today and it was easy to see why so many tourists come here. We were able to explore areas for evidence of landslides and tsunami. I learnt that tsunami do not just happen at sea, they can also happen in lakes if there is a large landslide that falls into the lake to create a wave or surge.

I also found out that every part of our coastline has had a tsunami at some point in history. Some of these tsunami have been large and others small but it does show that if we live on the coast we need to be prepared!

Talk tomorrow,


Thursday 11 August

Kia ora,

It was another perfect day on the West Coast and awesome to see Franz Josef at its best. I was surprised at how much the glacier has receded though – you can hardly see it from the lookout now. Franz Josef has over 250,000 visitors each year so is important to the tourist industry. Work is being done to try and make Franz safer by shifting vulnerable buildings and planning a response to a big earthquake.

This week has been a good time to think about how to prepare for geohazards and I now feel much more motivated to organise an emergency kit.

I have had an awesome adventure this week but now I can’t wait to get home.

See you soon,


Westlake is looking forward to the Geohazards field trip to Franz Josef. Image: LEARNZ.

Westlake near Porters Pass on the way to Arthur's Pass. Image: LEARNZ.

Westlake looks at where the Hope Fault meets the Alpine Fault. Image: LEARNZ.

Westlake looks for evidence of landslides near the Alpine Fault. Image: LEARNZ.

Westlake enjoys the view over the Franz Josef Glacier. Image: LEARNZ.

Westlake investigates the flood risk zone in Franz Josef. Image: LEARNZ.