100 Resilient Cities


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This strategy sets out a blueprint to enable Wellingtonians to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptions.

It is designed to maintain and build on the resilience momentum that has been generated to date. It outlines accountabilities and actions for change – its purpose is to make a positive difference. It is our vision that as Wellington moves and changes, everyone here will survive and thrive.

Three goals will support this vision: that people are connected, empowered and feel part of a community; decision making is integrated and well informed; and our homes, natural and built environment are healthy and robust. These goals will drive a series of strategic projects designed to shape our future city. Each of the projects signals a need to change from the status quo, such as preparing Wellington to adapt itself to the effects of sea level rise, and integrating recovery planning for the earthquake that we know will strike Wellington.

In developing this strategy, 200 people including infrastructure managers, researchers, community members, businesses and council staff from across the Wellington region imagined themselves in the shoes of their children and grandchildren in 35 years’ time. What will be the shocks and stresses they are likely to encounter, and what can we do today so that their lives – and ours – can be improved? How can we be Resilient Wellington?

We developed the strategy using four principles: to co-design wherever possible, to accelerate design, to use a strengths based approach, and to use story telling to communicate the resilience agenda.

01 People are connected, empowered and feel part of a community As our city grows and systems are stretched, we'll be able to support each other through disasters, and thrive in the face of challenges.

02 Decision making at all levels is integrated and well informed Informed decision making to create a well-prepared city with the services and facilities that support the evolving needs of our communities.

03 Our homes and natural and built environments are healthy and robust We will boost quality of life, address the challenges of a changing climate, and sustainably meet Wellingtonians’ basic needs.

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As our city grows and systems are stretched, we'll be able to support each other through disasters, and thrive in the face of challenges.

We will enable all Wellingtonians to have an opportunity to enhance wellbeing for themselves and their communities. This includes:

  • Improving access to household items that enhance preparedness and recovery
  • Planning our transport, housing, health system and social spaces to enable our aging population to fully participate and contribute to the economic and social life of our city
  • Reducing street homelessness in Wellington and integrate the most vulnerable people into society by enabling access to housing and partnering with
    health, social services and other support agencies

We will build on existing strengths to develop innovative programmes that connect and empower communitiesto improve their wellbeing. We will do this by:

  • Helping communities build resilience by developing and growing innovative programmes that empower communities to increase people’s wellbeing and emergency preparedness, connecting them
    to each other and their city
  • Supporting community spaces in taking on well-being and post-disaster roles by optimising new and existing multi-purpose spaces where communities can
    interact in good times, as well as after emergency events
  • Developing a sustainable food network building on current initiatives and creating new programmes that meet social and health needs as well as ensuring a
    robust food distribution network post emergency event
  • Developing disaster risk management plans for heritage areas to guide predisaster

We will support our business community to improve preparedness and strengthen our economic activity. This will include:

  • Reduce the vulnerability of the central city and improve the capacity of outside hubs to carry out more economic activity
  • Improving the level of business continuity planning by small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Wellington
  • Working with a range of partners to undertake a study to better understand future workforce trends and investigate ways to prepare for them


Informed decision making to create a well-prepared city with the services and facilities that support the evolving needs of our communities.

We will ensure that resilience is integrated into our city’s governance. This includes:

  • Assessing regulatory options to mitigate future liabilities of liquefaction, flooding, sea level rise and other hazards, and to build resilience into our city’s decision making
  • In partnership with the Wellington Lifelines Group (WeLG), better communicating the vulnerabilities of our city’s lifelines to leaders and decision makers in order to prompt and prioritise action
  • Maintaining the momentum generated by the strategy development process through a formal governance structure to oversee the implementation and review
    of the strategy

We will make information on all aspects of living in Wellington easily accessible. We will do this by:

  • Giving Wellingtonians information they need to make decisions by bringing together a wide range of data on Wellington and make it available so that citizens, researchers, investors and visitors can use it to make their own decisions and plans
  • Developing a model of Wellington’s central city that uses 3D, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) techniques to better communicate information
    about Wellington and its hazards

We will raise awareness about the potential effects of climate change and sea level rise to better emphasise the need for decisions to be made. This includes:

  • Rising awareness among coastal communities about the potential effects of sea level rise to better emphasise the need for decisions to be made in this area and prepare ground for the future Adaptation Plan
  • Encouraging action on climate adaptation by providing funding for innovative projects and increasing awareness of the issues

We will develop a framework for successful recovery from any disruption. We will achieve this by:

  • Developing a Pre-disaster Recovery Framework and facilitated process to guide post-event decision making
  • Undertaking a study to understand the constraints and opportunities for providing shelter and housing through the response and recovery phases after a significant seismic event or other shock affecting property


We will boost quality of life, address the challenges of a changing climate, and sustainably meet Wellingtonians’ basic needs.

We will support initiatives that contribute to Wellington homes forming the cornerstone of the city’s resilience. This includes:

  • Investigating options to improve the resilience of Wellington’s new and existing housing stock so that homes can better withstand earthquakes and
    storms, and can be used post-event as workplaces
  • Supporting home, business and asset owners to make informed decisions about their insurance cover
  • Undertaking a study of Wellington homes to assess the risk of water ingress in our new and existing housing leading to health issues resulting from cold, dampness and mould
  • Assessing the telecommunications sector’s capability to support high numbers of people working from home after a seismic event or other significant shock

We will ensure that Wellingtonians always have access to water
services, in a way that enhances our natural environment. This includes:

  • Integrating ecological interventions into how we manage Wellington’s water system to improve the quality of stormwater entering our streams and coast,
    improve resilience to flash floods and enhance urban biodiversity
  • Reducing carbon and landfill liability related to sewage management
  • Ensuring robust emergency water supply for Wellington Hospital in Newtown
  • Accelerating investment in water resilience and promote emergency water and sewage preparedness options to citizens, businesses and institutions to encourage them to take action and be self-sufficient for at least 7 days following a disaster

We will work with infrastructure owners to ensure flexibility and robustness of transport and energy services in Wellington. This includes:

  • Working with Wellington’s electricity sector to build in redundancy and flexibility into our energy supply
  • Enabling widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs) in Wellington, reducing dependence on the vulnerable fuel supply chain, as well as our carbon footprint
  • Working with NZTA to build and maintain resilient transport infrastructure for critical routes and all transport modes

Read Wellington's Resilience Strategy