Spatial and Temporal Changes in Tsunami Risk Perception in Canterbury
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Risk perception for rare, low-probability hazards, such as tsunamis, tends to be low due to individual's unfamiliarity with them and the tendency to see them as synonymous with non-occurrence events. Visitors to an area tend to have even lower risk perception and knowledge of hazards, warning systems and appropriate actions to take during an event. Risk perception, however, can increase, if only temporarily, after a catastrophic event, such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. To determine the changes in resident's knowledge and perception and the differences between those of residents and visitors two surveys were conducted. In the first survey interview style surveying was conducted at eleven locations in the coastal Christchurch and Banks Peninsula area of the Canterbury Region The questionnaire was composed of scaled, open, and closed ended questions and the main themes included knowledge of risk, preparation and warnings, what to do during a tsunami, and changes since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. The second survey of five coastal communities was conducted via a postal questionnaire and was aimed at obtaining residential views. Survey data was then analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) statistical software. The residential data was compared with that of the non-residents to determine the differences in perception of residents and visitors. The residential information was then compared with survey data from the 2003 National Coastal Survey. Visitors knew less about general tsunami information such as when the last tsunami occurred and were less likely to believe that a tsunami could occur imminently. Non-residents reported less receipt of information and did considerably less information seeking. Differences in knowledge of warning systems were difficult to ascertain. The Boxing Day event certainly made an impact, increasing people's knowledge and awareness, though most likely only temporarily.