Survey of Te Anau and Manapouri businesses following the 2003 Fiordland earthquake

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Forsyth, P.J.; Johnston, D.M. 2005 Survey of Te Anau and Manapouri businesses following the 2003 Fiordland earthquake . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 2005/13 17 p.

Abstract: On August 22, 2003, a large earthquake (magnitude Mw7.2) struck the Fiordland area in the South Island of New Zealand. The closest town to the epicentre was Te Anau (population about 1850), approximately 75 km away. In November 2003 we carried out a survey of businesses in Te Anau and the nearby smaller town of Manapouri, to establish the effects of the earthquake on commerce. 83 questionnaires were delivered, of which 45% were returned by post. Over half of the responding businesses are based on tourism, with a smaller group of retailing businesses and the smallest group consisting of office-based services. Businesses which responded are small to moderate in size, and most are well-established firms which have been trading for over 10 years. Direct damage to retail stock, both insured and uninsured, was slight, and most replies specified nil, n/a or did not answer. Reported stock losses were all under $3000, and uninsured losses were lower than insured. Insured damage to other property/assets was reported as higher than damage to stock but again most replies specified nil. Individual replies were up to $10 000. Uninsured losses of property/assets were higher again, up to $25 000. Two much larger losses were reported in this category, but they referred to damage in the wider Fiordland region and not to Te Anau premises. In general, businesses in Te Anau reported much lower losses from the earthquake than residents in a related survey. Closures caused by the earthquake were generally short, from 2 hours to 1 day, but with most replies reporting nil. However, the three most-affected businesses reported 2000 hours, 125 hours/15 days and 15 days for the time taken to return to normal. Most businesses in tourism and office-based services apparently returned to normal without loss of trading time. There was little increase in business activity reported, but some extra business related to flying science and media personnel around. Building repair/redecorating firms also reported an actual or potential increase in business, although not all were able to take advantage of this. Of five recommended measures for reducing earthquake damage, 40% of businesses reported carrying out at least one before the earthquake. Bolting furniture to walls and securing heavy items were the most reported of these measures. After the event, the overall implementation of preventive measures increased slightly. In total, 17 businesses (46%) reported at least one of the preventive measures either before or after the earthquake, and 20 (54%) did not carry out any measures at all. Thus the earthquake had a small impact on preparedness in businesses. Compared with surveys of residents and school children after the same event, businesses appear less likely to stockpile food and water for emergencies than householders. They also seem less likely to secure furniture and heavy items to lessen damage during earthquakes. Given the generally low levels of preparedness in home s, this finding is of concern. (auth)