Heather is currently a Hazard and Risk Analyst at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Her current research focus is undertaking applied research on risk modelling, vulnerability and resilience, with a strong focus on user engagement and applications in rural settings.
Heather completed a PhD in Hazard and Disaster Management at University of Canterbury in 2015. Her PhD research focussed on quantifying agricultural vulnerability to volcanic hazards, through post-event impact assessments and consultation with a broad range of international experts.
Prior to her current role, Heather worked across local government and Civil Defence Emergency Management in a Senior Hazard Advisor role. This work included disseminating natural hazard impact and resilience building methods to a variety of audiences including town/district planners, emergency management professionals, and the public.
Heather’s research interests include: risk reduction through policy and planning; the application of risk assessment tools for improved emergency management; agricultural and environmental vulnerability function development; quantifying and reducing social vulnerability; and effective risk communication approaches.
Her role in the He Mounga Puia, Puea Rū, Puea Kōrero project is coordinating the rural engagement programme to communicate and test the outputs of the agricultural impact modelling, in order to identify innovative risk management strategies for primary industries in the Taranaki region.