Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand

group of people around a table

Project Duration: 2 years

Project Budget: $291,800

The aim of this research is to better understand the scale and scope of cascading climate change impacts and implications across New Zealand. In particular, how they interact, who is affected, where inter-dependencies and co-dependencies occur, and how far impacts and implications might extend across multiple sectors. Climate change will have significant impacts and implications for diverse communities, sectors and activities, with wider spatial and temporal effect than might otherwise be expected. Beyond the immediate location of impact, climate change will have flow-on effects for ecosystem functionality, economies, and social systems. Example triggers for such cascading impacts include sea level rise, changes to extreme weather events, drought, and changing climate distributions.  

Gaining insight into the scope of interconnectivity between sectors will support adaptation planning, help avoid further risk exposure and lock-in of activities and assets, and mitigate the likelihood of cascades of negative impacts across the economy. Using a participatory and collaborative approach that utilises Communities of Practice, this research will help inform how stakeholders conceptualise impacts and implications and facilitate the development of linked-up approaches to adaptation planning that consider upstream and downstream decision implications.

In order to better support the overall aim of the Deep South Challenge to enhance adaptation, risk management and ensure New Zealand thrives in a changing climate, this research will focus on priority impacts for urban, infrastructure and financial services sectors. The project will work closely with Engagement, Vision Mātauranga, Impacts & Implications; be informed by Processes & Observations; and provide qualitative input to the Earth Systems Modelling & Prediction programs.


  • Contact Principle Investigator

Dr Judy Lawrence, Victoria University of Wellington, Email:


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