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David M Johnston

Citation on the award of NZSEE Fellow, April 2019

David Johnston is awarded a Fellowship of NZSEE for his contribution to and leadership of earthquake engineering research in New Zealand.

David Johnston has been one of New Zealand’s leading researchers and educators in the fields of social science and natural hazards for more than two decades. His research and knowledge spans across seismic, tsunami and volcanic hazards.  This breadth and the systematic nature of his research has enabled him to bring valuable insight to earthquake engineering.

He has actively researched across all phases of emergency management – risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery.  He initiated and led a number of insightful research studies during and following the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, including into the nature and extent of injuries that occurred.

David has actively collaborated across scientific disciplines and institutions. Amongst his many organisational roles, he was the founding director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research at Massey University, where he is currently a Professor of Disaster Risk Management. He has been the Societal Resilience Theme Leader for the Natural Hazards Research Platform, and at the beginning of 2019 became Deputy Director of QuakeCoRE.

David has actively developed and maintained international linkages that have benefitted the New Zealand earthquake engineering community.  He has been a member of the Scientific Committee for the Joint International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council since 2008.

As an educator, he has played a key role in building social science research capability in New Zealand – a capability that was extremely limited at the beginning of his career.

He has been widely recognised for his work, both in New Zealand and internationally.  In 2017 he received the Minister of Civil Defence’s Silver Award in recognition of his important contribution to Civil Defence Emergency Management.

By bringing social science to the fore as a key part of earthquake engineering, David has made a special contribution to the Society, and is acknowledged with the award of a New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Fellowship.