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Life at the Boundary

Napier from Bluff Hill by Robyn Gallagher

Welcome to Life at the Boundary - investigating natural hazards. This field trip is supported by EQC (the Earthquake Commission). The field trip is from 31 October to  2 November 2017. Enrol now.


Get ready to explore in and around the East Coast region of the North Island, close to the Hikurangi tectonic plate boundary. This is the boundary between the Australian plate and the Pacific plate which lies just off the coast. A large team of national and international scientists will be studying the Hikurangi plate boundary, New Zealand's largest earthquake and tsunami hazard, to find out what risk it poses to New Zealand. You will meet experts who will take you to locations to help you better understand what causes natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and tsunami and how you can manage the risk of these events.

New Zealand sits on the boundary between the moving Pacific and Indo Australian Plate. These plates continue to shape our amazing landscape, creating spectacular mountains, valleys and lakes. During this field trip you will discover the power of these geological forces as you look at the evidence left behind in the East Coast landscape, see active landslide areas and investigate the cause and effects of tsunami.

This LEARNZ trip is the ninth in a series on geohazards that have included the Auckland volcanic field, Wellington and Canterbury Earthquakes, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough and Franz Josef.

Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher.
Meet Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher

Watch the introductory video on Vimeo.


You will fly into the North Island city of Napier in the Hawkes Bay. This city like many others on the East Coast is located close to the active Hikurangi plate boundary. This plate boundary is New Zealand's largest earthquake and tsunami hazard. Napier has had large earthquakes in the past including the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit in 1931 killing 256 people.

Field Trip Plan - Term 4 2017

Monday 30 October

Travel Day
  • Read the diary about the travel from Dunedin to Napier to begin the Life at the Boundary field trip. Read Alvin the LEARNZ ambassadors update.

Tuesday 31 October

Life at the Boundary

  • Read the diary to discover why New Zealand is such a geologically active country. Watch the videos to see evidence of past earthquakes and landslides in Hawkes Bay. Read Alvin the LEARNZ ambassador's update and listen to the recorded web conference.

Wednesday 1 November

Boundary Hazards

  • Watch the videos to see how the 1931 Napier earthquake has changed the landscape. Read the diary about how geologists work as detectives to find out what has happened in the past and predict what might happen in the future. Read Alvin the LEARNZ ambassador's update and listen to the recorded web conference.

Thursday 2 November

Managing Natural Hazards

  • Read the diary to find out how to reduce the impact of natural hazards on people and property. Watch the videos about how to build stronger, more earthquake resilient buildings. Read Alvin the LEARNZ ambassador's update. Listen to the recording of the web conference

What's New

Friday 27 October Newsletter 3 was sent to all enrolled classes
Thursday 19 October Newsletter 2 was sent to all enrolled classes. 

Monday 2 October

The Life at the Boundary background pages and their easy reading versions and student activities are now online.

Monday 2 October

The Life at the Boundary field trip website is now online.

The LEARNZ Team think that joining the NZASE and staying connected through the NZ Science Teacher will help you become a better teacher of science.




East Coast LAB