For the last 14 years EMPA has brought together expert practitioners and researchers from around Australia, the US, New Zealand and Europe. They share frameworks and lessons learned – to stimulate thinking, encourage conversation and create change.



Recovery communications

Remote communities

Managing well-being in response teams

Whakaari/White Island

Ministerial interaction

PANEL: Sky City fire

Extreme weather events


  • Recovery communications
  • Remote communities
  • Managing well-being in response teams
  • COVID-19
  • Hurricane Dorian
  • Panel: Sky City fire
  • Plus much more


Dr Sara McBride, United States Geological Survey

(From LinkedIn:) With more than 18 years of experience as a professional communicator and researcher, predominately working for science and emergency management organisations, Dr McBride works to explore and advance innovative pathways that enable people to communicate more effectively before, during and after times of crisis.

Professor Juliet Gerrard, Chief Science Advisor, New Zealand

Professor Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ, FHonFRSC trained at Oxford University and moved to Aotearoa in 1993 where her career has included roles in both Crown Research Institutes and universities. Juliet’s research background is broad and interdisciplinary, with particular interests in fundamental and applied protein science. She has held an Industry and Outreach Fellowship with Callaghan Innovation, founded a start-up company, chaired the Marsden Council, and served on the Board of Directors of Plant and Food Research.

Since Juliet’s appointment in 2018 as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia, she has worked from a base of four founding principles: rigour, inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility. She has supported the science and science advisor community to provide advice to the PM, ministers, and the public on a wide range of topics, including advice on the Christchurch mosque shootings, the response to the Whakaari | White Island eruption, and the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Office released a major report, Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand, which created a vision for a new relationship with plastic.



 John Walsh, Director Readiness & Response, Ministry for Primary Industries  |  Carolyn Schwalger, CEO, National Emergency Management Agency  |  Stefan Weir, Private Secretary Civil Civil Defence, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet  |   Kay Boreham, Bay of Plenty Regional Council   |  Catherine Coates, Welfare Manager, Marlborough Civil Defence  |  Caroline Orchiston, Science Lead, Alpine Fault magnitude 8   |  Dr Maureen Mooney,  Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR), Massey University  | Sally McKay, Recovery Manager, Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Sally McKay, Emergency Recovery Coordinator

Sally McKay has worked across a diverse range of roles within Emergency Management for over 20 years and she strives to ensure a community led approach within all disaster work.

Sally’s work has taken her to many places – primarily across Asia Pacific zone , working for the International Federation of Red Cross / Red Crescent, within Australia working for all levels of Government and now in NZ

Sally’s roles have required her to lead work in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She has a strong commitment to social justice with an accompanying agenda to drive innovative community development practices that assist communities to adapt to change and become more resilient to disasters.



Anthony Clark

NSW Rural Fire Service, Australia

Catherine Coates

Marlborough Civil Defence

Jason Somerville

Wireless Nation

Dr Maureen Mooney

Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR), Massey University

Jeremy HIllman

Office of Disaster Recovery, NSW, Australia