Course focus is disasters
The potential for violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in New Zealand has prompted the creation of a new university course.
From next year students at Auckland University will be offered a masters degree in disaster management.
The degree will focus on the complexities of urban built environments and serious disasters with a mix of courses across different faculties, including engineering, planning and architecture.
While other universities offer various emergency management courses, Auckland University degree will focus on large-scale disasters.
Associate Professor Suzanne Wilkinson says students will be trained to deal with severe events that have the potential to overwhelm emergency services.
Ms Wilkinson also says the recent disasters in Christchurch have highlighted the need for education across a range of professions.
‘‘One of the lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes experience is the importance of a broad understanding of the disaster risk context for engineers, planners and designers.’’
Civil Defence public information manager Vince Cholewa says although New Zealand is generally well equipped to deal with disasters, he welcomes the move by Auckland University.
‘‘In general we respond very well to disasters but there’s always room for improvement and that’s where university courses come in,’’ he says.
The degree is due to start in the second semester of 2014 with enrolments opening early next year.