Tools for decision makers

Supporting decision making in a changing climate

As an island nation with high rainfall, flooding and sea level rise pose threats to economic and social activities on floodplains and at the coast. Decisions in such locations need to be adaptive, to recognise when thresholds may be crossed and to deal with changes before they happen. In this way, decision makers can avoid or reduce the consequent damage and costs.

  • Project Duration: 1 March 2017 – 30 June 2019
  • Project Budget: $ 339,582

The mission of the Deep South Challenge is to “enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate”. New and practical tools are needed to enable decision makers to respond appropriately to climate related impacts, to limit damage and costs to the nation and its communities. With uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of climate change impacts, local government and infrastructure providers in particular need new and adaptive decision-making tools that take into account changing risk profiles. The Dynamic Adaptive Pathways Planning (DAPP) approach is an assessment tool for developing adaptation options. It helps decision makers consider the conditions under which policies will fail to reduce risks, and provides stress-test options using plausible socioeconomic scenarios of the future.

The project is focussing on flood and sea level rise management, enabling decision makers to move, over time, towards sustainable pathways that are more climate resilient. This approach was first developed in the Netherlands, and follows on from the successful development and application of the DAPP approach with local and regional councils in New Zealand, led by Victoria University of Wellington with support from Ministry for the Environment.

Principal Investigators:

Primary Contact: Dr Judy Lawrence, NZ Climate Change Research Institute (NZCCRI) Victoria University of Wellington,, 021499011

Dr Rob Bell, NIWA, Hamilton

Dr Nick Cradock-Henry, Landcare Research, Lincoln

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Latest news and updates

Insurance: the canary in the coalmine of climate change?

The Deep South Challenge announces new research into who should bear the cost of our changing climate, and when.

All over New Zealand, from Haumoana to Westport, from Edgecumbe to the Kāpiti Coast, from Dunedin to Wellington City, homeowners and businesses are starting to feel the financial effects of climate change.

“Gaining traction on intractable issues”: An interview with Partnerships Director Susan Livengood

Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.