2019 EMPA New Zealand award winners

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The Annual EMPA Awards for Excellence in Emergency Communication have been established to recognise those who have made a significant contribution to emergency communications in Australia and New Zealand.

The New Zealand EMPA Awards for Excellence in Emergency Communications for 2019 were presented at the EMPA Conference Dinner in Wellington on Thursday, 1 August 2019.

Here are the winners, as well as highly commended entries, in each category:

Excellence in Resilience and Readiness

Joint Winners - AF8 (Alpine Fault magnitude 8) & Biosecurity New Zealand (MPI)

AF8 Roadshow: The Science Beneath Our Feet -  We can’t predict earthquakes but we can prepare for them. "The Science Beneath our Feet” was a travelling roadshow that took the science and impact information about an Alpine Fault rupture directly to South Island communities, including school visits and public lectures.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Readiness Spring/Summer Campaign 2018-2019 - The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is described as “New Zealand’s most unwanted pest”. They’re hard to see, difficult to kill, they breed fast (and they’re also hard to pronounce). Every year Biosecurity NZ runs a campaign through spring and summer to raise awareness of this pest and help stop it becoming established on New Zealand's shores.

 Readiness winner AF8                                                   Readiness winner bio stinkbug

Alice Lake-Hammond accepting the award on behalf of AF8                   
                                            Phill Sherring accepting the award on behalf of Biosecurity NZ


Highly Commended – WREMO (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office)

Translating the Earthquake Planning Guide through Community Empowerment - WREMO set out to translate its earthquake preparedness guide into 15 languages to reach the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse community in this region, but the cost of translation was going to be prohibitive. So they partnered with the Red Cross to locate fluent speakers from within local CALD communities who would volunteer to translate for the guide.

Readiness HCAshleigh Brown, Donna Heywood & Dan Neely from WREMO accepting the certificate on behalf of their team.

Excellence in Response and Recovery

Winner – NZ Transport Authority

Waiho Bridge – the Waiho Bridge on the West Coast that was swept away by floods earlier this year. The bridge was a critical link on State Highway 6 with a 14-hour detour around the Southern Alps until it was fixed. Communicating the work to replace the bridge was a project almost as complex as the physical rebuild.

Recovery winner NZTANZTA's Lachlan Forsyth & Monica Brookes accepting the award on behalf of their team and organisation 

Highly Commended – Biosecurity New Zealand (MPI)

Working with Auckland communities to manage a major biosecurity threat - for their work communicating the Fruit Fly Response to the horticulture industry, residents in control areas, and the general public. The success of the Fruit Fly response was very dependent on the public understanding and buying into the restrictions on their activities – not an easy job when there were multiple sites impacted in a very large system.

Recovery HCJohn Walsh & Tanya Katterns from MPI with the Highly Commended certificate.

Excellence in Emergency Media

Winner – North & South Magazine, Bauer Media

‘Safe As Houses?’ – this long-form article from sub-editor Joanna Wane is a comprehensive investigation of natural hazards and their impacts on where we choose to live.

Joanna was unfortunately unable to attend the awards dinner and presentation.


Highly Commended – Chris Lynch from Newstalk ZB

Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks Breaking News - Chris' coverage of the evolving situation on the afternoon of March 15 during and after the mosque shootings met the difficult task of needing to provide accurate information to a hungry audience while being sensitive to the unfolding tragedy.

Chris was unfortunately unable to attend the awards dinner and presentation.


Excellence in Research

Winner – Joint Centre for Disaster Research (Massey University/GNS Science) and US Geological Survey

Best-practice aftershock communication for improved readiness, response and resilience – the Joint Centre for Disaster Research and the US Geological Survey partnered to research the best ways to communicate the risk of aftershocks, in order to improve readiness, response and resilience. Geonet is already using the results of the research to improve the way their scientists communicate about aftershock risk.

Research winner2Dr Emma Hudson-Doyle & Dr Julie Becker, from Massey University, and Sally Potter from GNS Science accepting the award on behalf of their team.