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Exhibition Highlights Science of Earthquakes

Exhibition Highlights Science of Earthquakes

1931 Earthquake Exhibition
opens to the public 16 February

The new 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake exhibition should have a wide appeal for the public. It is being officially opened next Friday 15 February at the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery in Napier by the Minister of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Hon Rick Barker.

A larger part of the new exhibition is the science of earthquakes – showing what happens under the surface of the earth to produce earthquakes.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council staff have worked with museum staff and government agencies to show people new data about earthquakes and reinforce that the risks are always with us.

“The idea of involving the Regional Council in an exhibition at the museum was first proposed by the late Jeremy Dwyer, when he was a Regional Councillor, as a way to help people understand the real risks of earthquakes, and this new exhibition achieves that goal,” said Chairman Rex McIntyre.

“This permanent exhibition isn’t just for tourists and schoolchildren - there’s lots in it for local people to learn about the impact of the ’31 earthquake. It will have something of a ‘Te Papa flavour’ which is what people now expect from museums.”

The geophysical side of the exhibition has new interactive screens showing how earthquakes work plus original film footage of downtown Napier and Hastings in ruins. There are also archival photos showing damage and changes to the landscape, from the epicentre out as far as Wairoa and Waipukurau.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has commissioned scientific research to learn more about earthquake risks, and this information, plus recent findings from scientists and researchers, is included.

“Just when we think we know everything about the 1931 earthquake, we find out more,” said Mr McIntyre. “I think Hawke’s Bay people will be surprised at some of the new material that has come to light. They should definitely have a clearer understanding about why Councils stress the need for emergency preparedness.”

GNS Science has also funded a GEOSK for the exhibition. This is a computer display that lets visitors see data coming from the geophysical networks, using seismographs and global positioning systems (GPS) operated across New Zealand by the GeoNet project.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has contributed $50,000 toward the development of the geophysical and civil defence aspect of the exhibition. Other partners were EQC – the Earthquake Commission, Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and GNS Science which have generously supported with information, fact checking services, charts and elements for the interactive displays. Napier City Council contributed funding for the overall exhibition.


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