Special Plenary Session: Our Recent Flooding

Our Recent Flooding Speaker
8:30 AM Introduction Peter Christensen and Te Radar
8:50 AM Our Recent Flooding – The Climate Context Graeme Smart – NIWA
9:10 AM Auckland Flooding Nick Brown – Auckland Council
9:30 AM Cyclone Gabrielle – A Hawkes Bay Perspective Chris Dolley – Hawkes Bay Regional Council
10:20 AM Societal Vulnerability and Flooding – Findings from recent studies Paula Blackett – NIWA and Vivienne Ivory -WSP
10:40 AM The role of insurance in planning for future flood events Belinda Storey – Climate Sigma
11:00 AM Closing Thoughts + Questions All speakers present their two key takeways.
11:20AM – 11.25AM Conference Closing Gillian Blythe – Water New Zealand



Paula Blackett – NIWA

Paula is an environmental social scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA). She has extensive research experience (20 years+) in the social impacts and implications of climate change, climate change adaptation strategies and engagement practices, and system approaches to framing complexity and decision-making. She has worked across several environmental domains including coasts freshwater and rural systems and is an adept integrator of ideas and practice. She currently leads NIWA’s climate change impacts and implications research programme.

Nick Brown

Nick Brown is a Senior Manager with Auckland Council.  He works at both the regional and property level identifying flooding and water quality issues, and creating objectives, rules, solutions, and standards to address these issues.  Nick has spent the past 25 years predicting where flood hazards will occur and the impact they will have.  Nick owns the hydrometric network for Auckland, and is responsible for the publication of flood hazard information.  Nick is a member of the NZ River Manages Group and has given keynote addresses to conferences in NZ and overseas.

Vivienne Ivory – WSP

Vivienne is a Technical Principal, Social Science, Resilience and Public Health at WSP’s Research & Innovation Centre in Petone. Her research starts from the question – ‘if I reside here, how do I live well? She is a leading researcher in many public-funded academic research programmes addressing the determinants of health and wellbeing, including floods. As part of her work, she uses public health frameworks and a mix of research methods to shed light on how infrastructure investments and operation can reduce vulnerability to natural hazards such as flooding and enhance wellbeing.

Chris Dolley – Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

The Asset Management Group is responsible for looking after a diverse portfolio of river, drainage and coastal engineering, capital project delivery, flood scheme operations and maintenance, water security and a regional park network. Chris has more than 20 years’ experience in strategic and operational engineering management roles in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Graeme Smart – NIWA

Graeme is Principal Scientist for Natural Hazards and Hydrodynamics at NIWA and a member of the UN Joint Expert Team (JET) that guides and coordinates hydrologic monitoring across the World Meteorological Organisation and other UN organisations. He has wide-ranging experience of NZ natural hazards and has worked for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the Indonesian Ministry of Works, German and Swiss foreign aid programmes and Volunteer Service Abroad. Graeme has advised on hydro and inundation forecasting/mitigating projects in Fiji, Hispaniola, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Samoa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Vanuatu and NZ. He helped set up the RiskScape software and patented the first pressure-operated electronic, river-flow meter. He has taught several university courses and published widely in fields related to flood hazard, fluid mechanics, flow resistance, sediment transport and hydrology. He is an entertaining and informative speaker.

Belinda Storey

Belinda is a Senior Research Fellow at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, where she conducts research on the impact of extreme events on infrastructure, real estate, banking and insurance. As Managing Director of Climate Sigma, Belinda developed the “climate leases” model for valuing property under climate change and in 2017 coined the term “insurance retreat”.

Belinda Storey is also Managing Director of Whakahura: Extreme Events and the Emergence of Climate Change, a five-year, $10M research programme funded by MBIE and meets regularly with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to incorporate physical climate risk in the stress testing of New Zealand’s largest banks. She is a director of State-Owned Enterprise Pāmu/Landcorp and has served as a member of XRB’s External Advisory Panel on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. She is a member of the Ministry for the Environment’s Expert Working Group on Managed Retreat and advised the NZ Green Business Council in their development of the property and construction sector climate scenarios.

In May 2022 Belinda was named Wellingtonian of the Year for Science and Technology in recognition of her work in pricing climate risk.

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