Team

Since 2006, over 50 scientists from research institutes and universities across New Zealand have contributed to the success of IT’S OUR FAULT.

Meet the Team

Sarah Gunnell

Sarah Gunnell

Consultant Planner
MRP, MSc (Geography)

Sarah is a consultant planner who works primarily with GNS Science and Urban Edge Planning based in Lower Hutt. She has a passion for natural hazards and climate change, and much of her work is focused on facilitating the translation of natural hazards science into land use planning from both a research and practitioner perspective. This aim is to improve planning practice for the management of natural hazards to reduce risk and support the resilience of our communities. Work completed under the It’s Our Fault programme to date has included research into the implementation of the risk-based planning approach, analysis of district plan provisions for slope instability and options for managing landslide risk, updating land use planning guidance for managing landslide and tsunami risk, and presenting workshops on translating natural hazard science into practice.

More about
Sarah Gunnell
here:
Urban Edge Planning
Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly

Natural Hazards Planner
BSc, Geology; MSc (Honours), Hazard and Disaster Management

Scott is a Natural Hazard Planner at GNS Science with a background in geologic sciences and resource management consultancy, and is currently co-leading the It’s Our Fault Science to Policy and Natural Hazard Planning projects. Embarking on a geologic sciences pathway was an easy decision with a love for the outdoors – mountain biking, tramping, skiing and kiteboarding – but it was ultimately the potential of events to impact society, having been at UC during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, that drew Scott towards UC’s hazard and disaster management programme. Scott’s interest in planning and policy stems from the combination of his academic and professional backgrounds, where the interpretation, communication and use of science for legislative frameworks has the potential to reduce the risk and impacts of natural hazards.

More about
Scott Kelly
here:
GNS Science
Nicola Litchfield

Nicola Litchfield

Senior Paleoseismologist
BSc, Geology; MSc(Hons) (1st class honours), Geology; PhD, Geology

Nicola is a senior paleoseismologist with 30 years of experience working on active faults, landscape response to tectonics, and seismic hazard. She has worked on the It’s Our Fault programme periodically since its inception, in recent years focusing on Hikurangi Margin subduction earthquakes. This field-based work aims to document the size and timing of past earthquakes so that we can better understand and plan for future earthquake and tsunami risk. Nicola also undertakes this work at other sites along the North Island East Coast, maps and characterises active faults for land use planning purposes and is very involved in the current update of the New Zealand National Seismic Hazard Model. Nicola is currently the Science Leader of the It's Our Fault programme.

More about
Nicola Litchfield
here:
GNS Science
Finn Scheele

Finn Scheele

Risk Scientist
BSc, Geology; MSc (First Class Honours),Hazard and Disaster Management

Finn Scheele is a Risk Scientist at GNS Science, leading the work on modelling fire following earthquake for Wellington City under It's Our Fault. Fire following earthquake is a relatively understudied phenomenon that is thankfully rare, but is a risk in earthquake-prone cities that deserves attention to ensure we mitigate the consequences. Finn is broadly interested in all aspects of disaster risk and resilience, with a focus on quantifying the impacts of events to allow for better planning, response and recovery. In addition to fire following earthquake, his research seeks to understand, quantify and model the social impacts of disasters, such as loss of habitability and population displacement.

More about
Finn Scheele
here:
GNS Science
Saskia de Vilders

Saskia de Vilders

Engineering Geologist
BSc, Geology/Geography; MSc, Geology; PhD

I am an Engineering Geologist based in GNS Science’s Wellington office. I use multiple techniques (GIS, remote sensing, laboratory testing and numerical simulations) to investigate landslide behaviour as well as undertaking quantitative hazard and risk analysis (QRA). I’m working with Scott Kelly, Natural Hazards Planner, to translate the Science Knowledge generated from various IOF projects into policy, by assisting Urban Edge Ltd with the Wellington City Council District Plan Review.

More about
Saskia de Vilders
here:
GNS Science
Xiaoming Wang

Xiaoming Wang

Tsunami Scientist
BSc, Hydraulic Engineering; MSc, Harbor, Coastal and Offshore Engineering; PhD, Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology

Xiaoming Wang is a tsunami scientist and current chair of the Tsunami Experts Panel, with solid background in hydrodynamic modelling and tsunami science. He is the main developer of one of the most widely recognised tsunami simulation models in research communities. IOF tsunami tasks have been focused on identifying and quantifying local fault source tsunami hazards and the challenges associated with tsunami evacuation in local events.

More about
Xiaoming Wang
here:
GNS Science
Genevieve Coffey

Genevieve Coffey

Paleoseismologist

Genevieve Coffey is a paleoseismologist at GNS Science who has a background in applying structural geology and geochemical tools to understand earthquake behaviour. Growing up in the lower North Island, she has always had an interest in how earthquakes shape New Zealand’s landscape, and this led her to study earthquakes and faulting in a variety of environments both in New Zealand and overseas. Genevieve leads the Northern Ōhāriu Fault task with Russ Van Dissen, which focuses on examining evidence of past seismicity on the Northern Ōhāriu and Ōhāriu Faults to understand the potential for future earthquakes on these and how they fit into the seismic hazard of the Wellington region.

More about
Genevieve Coffey
here:
GNS Science
Andy Howell

Andy Howell

Earthquake Geologist/Numerical Modeller
MSc, Earth Sciences; PhD, Geology

Andy Howell is an earthquake geologist who specialises in combining field observations with remote sensing data and numerical modelling to understand subduction zones. Originally from southwest England, Andy studied coastlines that were uplifted in past earthquakes in the Mediterranean before moving to Aotearoa NZ in 2017. He leads the IOF subduction earthquake task, which uses field investigations to constrain the timing and magnitude of past earthquakes on the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, as well as numerical models to understand potential impacts of subduction earthquakes around the Wellington Region.

More about
Andy Howell
here:
GNS Science