Annual virtual field trip shows tsunami impact on Chatham Islands


Students, along with their teachers, can now digitally explore the Rēkohu Wharekauri/Chatham Islands and learn about the impact of the past tsunami in the latest Toka Tū Ake EQC online excursion via LEARNZ.

Toka Tū Ake EQC Public Education Manager Hamish Armstrong says funding education programs like these is an important part of Toka Tū Ake EQC’s work to help develop the next generation of Neo- Zealanders aware of the dangers.

Over 2,300 students from across the country have already signed up for the virtual trip, the content of which is now available at

“By helping young New Zealanders understand the natural forces that have shaped our land, we hope to inspire future careers and raise awareness of the hazards and their impacts. These resources are easy for educators to use and provide a fun and interactive educational experience for children across New Zealand,” says Armstrong.

Scientific expertise and advice was provided for the trip by GNS Science Principal Scientist Dr Graham Leonard, Professor David Johnston of Massey University and Principal Investigator Kelvin Tapuke. The team spent a week on Rēkohu Wharekauri/Chatham Islands filming content for this year’s field trip and will soon host two live chats with students.

“The Chathams are such a remote and awe-inspiring place and we’re excited for students to discover more about the geological history of these islands and their connection to the rest of Aotearoa, and see how past events can help us prepare for the future. future tsunami in other parts of Aotearoa,” says Dr. Leonard.

Rēkohu Wharekauri/Chatham Islands was selected as the theme this year as it would be the first place in New Zealand to be hit by a tsunami generated by earthquakes in the South American subduction zone.

Past events of particular interest included the 1868 tsunami which resulted from an 8.5 to 9.5 earthquake off the coast of Chile and caused major damage and loss of life on the islands .

Toka Tū Ake EQC has sponsored LEARNZ field trips since 2009, helping thousands of students access the inaccessible and be digitally transported to remote locations all over Aotearoa and beyond.

Teachers can find more information at Tsunami: Lessons from the Chathams virtual field visit and access the program at

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