Natural Hazards

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 441–464 | Cite as

Interpreting Auckland’s volcanic governance through an institutional lens

  • Catherine MurrayEmail author
  • Garry McDonald
  • Shane Cronin
Original Paper


This paper presents critical reflections on the governance of natural hazards, in the context of New Zealand’s Auckland volcanic field (AVF). The AVF is unusual given that there is an urban area built on this active field, and the potential for a volcanic eruption is clearly identified as a natural hazard. The occurrence of another volcanic event on the AVF seems certain. The timing of the next event remains, however, enigmatic. The problem in terms of governance of a natural volcanic hazard in Auckland is a matter not of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Using the AVF as a case study, we place existing governance structures within a New Institutional Economics framework and, in turn, critique the role of key institutional actors across time, using Williamson’s Economist 146(1):23–58, (1998) four levels of institutional analysis. In particular, we note the key challenge of incorporating time into AVF governance and socio-economic planning. Overall, this paper provides a theoretical framework for evaluating disaster recovery, in this case taking the existing legal and institutional framework of volcanic risk governance in Auckland, to assist the practical management of a low probability, but potentially high-impact natural hazard.


Auckland volcanic field Timeframes Polycentric governance Time in economics 



The authors acknowledge the support of the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology’s International Investment Opportunity Fund, which funded the project ‘Facing the Challenge of Auckland’s Volcanism’ (MAUX0808).


  1. AELG (2012) Assessing Auckland’s infrastructure vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards and developing measures to reduce our region’s vulnerability. Auckland: Auckland Engineering Lifelines Group Report. Accessed 13 March 2013
  2. Aldrich D (2011) Between market and state: directions in social science research on disaster. Perspect Polit 9(1):61–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alston L (1996) Empirical work in institutional economics: an overview. In: Alston L, Eggertsson T & North D (eds) Empirical Studies in Institutional Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Alston L (2008) The “case” for case studies in new institutional economics. In: Brousseau E, & Glachant J (eds) Empirical studies in institutional changeGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderies J, Janssen M, Ostrom E (2004) A framework to analyse the robustness of social-ecological systems from an institutional perspective. Ecol Soc 9 (1):18 Accessed March 5 2013
  6. Ashenden C, Lindsay J, Sherburn S, Smith I, Minner C, Malin P (2011) Some challenges of monitoring a potentially active volcanic field in a large urban area: Auckland volcanic field, New Zealand. Nat Hazards 59(1):507–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bebbington M, Cronin S (2011) Spatio-temporal hazard estimation in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand, with a new event-order model. Bull Volcanol 73(1):55–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker J, Saunders W, Robertson C, Leonard G, Johnston D (2010a) Issues and opportunities for land-use planning for volcanic hazards. Australas J Disaster Trauma Stud 1:24Google Scholar
  9. Becker J, Saunders W, Leonard G, Robertson C, Johnston D (2010b) A synthesis of challenges and opportunities for reducing volcanic risk through land use planning in New Zealand. Austalas J Disaster Trauma Stud 2010(1). Accessed September 23 2013
  10. Beckmann V, Padmanabhan M (2009) Analysing institutions. What method to apply? In: Institutions and sustainability. Political economy of agriculture and the environments. Essays in honour of Konrad Hagedorn. Dortrecht: Springer, pp. 341–371Google Scholar
  11. Boettke P, Coyne C (2005) Methodological individualism, spontaneous order and the research program of the workshop in political theory and policy analysis. J Econ Behav Organ 57(2):145–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bowles S, Gintis H (2002) Social capital and community governance. Econ J 112:419–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Britt E, Carter J, Conradson D, Scott A, Vargo J, Moss H (2012) Resilience framework and guidelines for practice. Ministry of Social Development, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. CAENZ (2009) Land use planning for natural hazards. Stewardship for the future. Christchurch: New Zealand Centre for Advanced Engineering. Accessed September 23 2013
  15. Campanella T (2006) Urban resilience and the recovery of New Orleans. J Am Plann As 72(2):141–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carse J (1987) Finite and infinite games. Ballantine Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Cashman K, Cronin S (2008) Welcoming a monster to the world. Myths, oral tradition, and modern societal response to volcanic disasters. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 176:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cassidy J, Locke C (2010) The Auckland volcanic field, New Zealand: geophysical evidence for structural and spatio-temporal relationships. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 195(2–4):127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clarke L (2008) Worst-case thinking and official failure in Katrina. In: Richardson H, Gordon P, Moore J (eds) Natural disaster analysis after hurricane katrina. Risk assessment, economic impacts and social implications. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, pp 84–92Google Scholar
  20. Cummings R (1922) The girl in the golden atom. Accessed 15 June 2013
  21. Daly M (2009) Synthesis of existing risk and social data for the Auckland Volcanic Field. Institute of Earth Science and Engineering Aotearoa: IESE Technical Report 1-2009.05. Accessed 23 September 2013
  22. Department of Internal Affairs (2006) Get ready get thru campaign. Accessed 12 March 2013
  23. Dixit A, Skeath S, Reiley D (2009) Games of strategy, 3rd edn. W. W. Norton and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Doyle E, Johnston D, McClure J, Paton D (2011) The communication of uncertain scientific advice during natural hazard events. NZ J Psychol 40(4):39–50Google Scholar
  25. Edbrooke S, Mazengarb C, Stephenson W (2003) Geology and geological hazards of the Auckland urban area, New Zealand. Quat Int 103:3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Glavovic B, Saunders W, Becker J (2010) Land-use planning for natural hazards in New Zealand: the setting, barriers, ‘burning issues’ and priority actions. Nat Hazards 54:679–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hardisty D, Orlove B, Krantz D, Small A, Milch K, Osgood D (2012) About time: an integrative approach to effective environmental policy. Glob Environ Change 22:684–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hayek F (1944) The road to serfdom. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (reprinted 1994)Google Scholar
  29. Hayek F (1964) Kinds of order in society. New Individ Rev 3(2):3–12Google Scholar
  30. Henrich J, Heine S, Norenzayan A (2010a) Most people are not WEIRD. Nature, 466(29)Google Scholar
  31. Henrich J, Heine S, Norenzayan A (2010b) The weirdest people in the world? Behav Brain Sci 33(2–3):61–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Horsley P (2011) Property rights viewed from emerging relational perspectives. In: Grinlinton D, Taylor P, New Zealand Law Foundation (eds) Property rights and sustainability: the evolution of property rights to meet ecological challenges. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  33. Ihimaera W (2005) The uncle’s story. Robson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Independent Maori Statutory Board (2012). The Maori plan for Tamaki Makaurau. Accessed 12 March 2012
  35. Johnson N, Zhao G, Hunsader E, Ment J, Ravindar A, Carran S, Tivnan B (2012) Financial black swans driven by ultrafast machine ecology. Cornell University Working Paper. Accessed 12th March 2013
  36. Kachali H, Stevenson J, Whitman Z, Seville E, Vargo J, Wilson T (2012) Organisational resilience and recovery for canterbury organisations after the 4 September 2010 earthquake. Australas J Disaster Trauma Stud 1:11–20Google Scholar
  37. Kawharu M (2000) Kaitiakitanga: a Maori anthropological perspective of the Maori socio-environmental ethic of resource management. J Polyn Soc 109(4):349–370Google Scholar
  38. Kermode L (1992) Geology of the Auckland urban area. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, Lower HuttGoogle Scholar
  39. Kermode L, Smith I, Moore C, Stewart R, Ashcroft J, Nowell S, Hayward B (1992) Inventory of quaternary volcanoes and volcanic features of Northland, South Auckland and Taranaki. Geol Soc New Zea Miscellaneous Publications 61Google Scholar
  40. Lambert S, Mark-Shadbolt M, Ataria J, Black A (2012) Indigenous resilience through urban disaster. Paper in Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga International Indigenous Research Development Conference Proceedings, 2012.
  41. Marsden M (1992) Kaitiakitanga a definitive introduction to the holistic world view of the Maori. Ministry for the Environment:Wellington. Accessed 11 March 2013
  42. MCDEM (2005) Recovery management director’s guidelines for CDEM groups. Ministry of civil defence and emergency management. Accessed 4 Aug 2014
  43. MCDEM (2008) Exercise Ruaumoko ‘08 final exercise report. Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  44. McTaggart J (1908) The unreality of time. Mind 17:457–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mesquita B (2010) The predictioneer’s game. Using the logic of brazen self interest to see and shape the future. Random House: New YorkGoogle Scholar
  46. Miles S (2012) The Christchurch fiasco and the insurance aftershock. Dunmore Publishing, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  47. Modigliani F, Ando A (1957) Tests of the life cycle hypothesis of saving. Bulletin of the Oxford University Institute of StatisticsGoogle Scholar
  48. Molm L, Takahashi N, Peterson G (2000) Risk and trust in social exchange: an experimental test of a classical proposition. Am J Sociol 105(5):1396–1427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Myburgh D, Webb C, Seville E (2012) Enhancing organizations’ adaptive capacity and resilience through effective decision making in the recovery phase. Bus Cont Resil J 1(4):3–19. ISSN 1752‐4539Google Scholar
  50. Nelson R, Winter S (1982) An evolutionary theory of economic change. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. North D (1991) Institutions. J Econ Perspect 5(1):97–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Olsen J, Williams A (2005) Planning for an eruption from the Auckland volcanic field. N Z Plan Quart 158: 17–19. ISSN:0111-9435Google Scholar
  53. Ostrom E (2005) Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton University Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  54. Ostrom E, Basurto X (2011) Crafting analytical tools to study institutional change. J Inst Econ 7(3):317–343Google Scholar
  55. Ostrom V, Tiebout C, Warren R (1961) The organization of government in metropolitan areas: a theoretical inquiry. Am Polit Sci Rev 55:831–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Panny J (1998) The culture within: essays on Ihimaera, Grace, Hulme, Tuwhare. Ernst Press, AshurstGoogle Scholar
  57. Pilling S (2012) New Zealand fire service’s independent review of the Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011. Review - final report Oct 12.pdf. Accessed on the 22nd February 2013
  58. Power S (2012) The metaphysics of the ‘Specious’ present. Erkenntnis 77(1):121–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Power S (2013) Perceiving external things and the time-lag argument. Eur J Philos 21(1):94–117Google Scholar
  60. Rose A (2004) Economic principles, issues and research priorities in hazard loss estimation. In: Okuyama Y, Chang S (eds) Modeling spatial and economic impacts of disasters. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  61. Rotemberg J, Saloner G (1993) Leadership style and incentives. Manage Sci 39:1299–1318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schumpeter J (1934) The theory of economic development: an inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest and the business cycle. Transaction Publishers, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  63. Sherburn S, Bradley S, Olsen J, Miller C (2007) Monitoring seismic precursors to an eruption from the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand. N Z J Geol Geophys 50(1):1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Simon H (1976) From substantive to procedural rationality. In: Latsis S (ed) Method and appraisal in economics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  65. Skar S (1981) Andean women and the concept of space/time. In: Ardener S (ed) Women and space: ground rules and social maps. Croomhelm, LondonGoogle Scholar
  66. Vergne J, Durand R (2010) The missing link between the theory and empirics of path dependence. J Manag 47(4):736–759Google Scholar
  67. Williamson O (1991) Comparative economic organization: the analysis of discrete structural alternatives. Adm Sci Q 36(2):269–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Williamson O (1998) Transaction cost economics: how it works; where it is headed. Economist 146(1):23–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tierney K (2012) Disaster governance: social, political and economic dimensions. Annu Rev Environ Resour 37:341–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yin R (1994) Case study research, design and methods. Sage Publications, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Murray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Garry McDonald
    • 1
  • Shane Cronin
    • 2
  1. 1.Market Economics LtdAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Volcanic Risk SolutionsMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations