UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Rachel Hunt

Rachel Hunt


IMG_0964.JPGAddress: Department of Geography, University College London, North-West Wing, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT


Twitter: @Rachel_L_Hunt


London NERC DTP website:

Studentship funding: London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (Cohort 5)

Professor Mark Maslin - Department of Geography
Dr Carina Fearnley - Department of Science and Technology Studies
Dr Simon Day - Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction




Current Research

Project Title: New Zealand’s Tsunami Warning System: Considerations for Enhancing Hazard Communication and Response.

Abstract: This research focusses on tsunami early warnings and responses, aiming to understand and enhance New Zealand’s tsunami warning system, drawing good practices that can benefit the global tsunami community. Individuals and communities are known to respond in different ways to official tsunami warnings and natural tsunami warning signs. This research seeks to understand how official warnings are decided upon and communicated and the ways in which warnings can be tailored through education and engagement measures to improve tsunami awareness and preparedness. Social research methods were used to investigate tsunami early warnings and responses in New Zealand. Documents and archives were studied to examine the nature and content of official tsunami information and the methods currently used to communicate these warnings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with tsunami researchers, warning specialists, and emergency managers to gain an understanding of the opinions held on the effectiveness of official warnings and public education. Participants were recruited from research institutes, national agencies, regional groups, and local councils in New Zealand.

Policy Impact Statement: This research aims to improve the understanding of and responses to official tsunami warnings and natural tsunami warning signs, contributing to the development of tsunami resilient communities in New Zealand and beyond.


Academic Background:

University College London, 2018 - present, PhD Environmental Science
Project title: New Zealand’s Tsunami Warning System: Considerations for Enhancing Hazard Communication and Response.

University of Portsmouth, 2016 - 2017, MSc Geological and Environmental Hazards
Thesis title: The Effect of Earthquake Source Location and Moment Magnitude along the Philippine Trench on Tsunami Wave Propagation and Runup at the Eastern Philippine Coastlines.

University of Chester, 2012 - 2015, BSc (Hons) Geography and Natural Hazard Management
Dissertation title: Hazard Perception of Japanese Students in the Wake of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.