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Summer Scholarship win for Leleiga’s Safety Communication Project

Congratulations to Bachelor of Communication Honours student Leleiga Taito who has won a second award for her potentially life-saving Mt Ruapehu safety communication research.  In January, Leleiga received an award from GNS Science to conduct research into safety communication on Mt Ruapehu.  Now, Leleiga has received a Summer Scholarship to work with Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley over Summer in order to produce creative digital research outputs from her Mt Ruapehu ethnographic video data.

Leleiga has just spent three months living in Whakapapa Village on Mt Ruapehu gathering written and audiovisual ethnographic field data about safety culture – you can see her fantastic blog about her experiences here: http://www.esocsci.org.nz/social-science-snow-and-safety-communications-why-do-people-ignore-safety-warnings-guest-blogger-leleiga-taito/

Over Summer Leleiga will be busy in post-production, editing and finalising film footage so as to make her research findings easy to share with others, and spread the word in creative ways about mountain safety communication. The 2-minute sample of raw video footage posted with this blog shows a real-time view of just one ski slope during a lahar warning test – the video shows that many people don’t move out of the way and, had the test been real, could have been in the path of a boiling river of mud, water and rocks with the viscosity of wet concrete, moving at up to 65 kilometers per hour down the valleys of the mountain and destroying everything in its path.

Leleiga’s field work aims to crack the puzzle of why people don’t move quickly when the warning sounds, or why some move into the valley floor instead of to higher ground, so that the effectiveness of mountain safety communication can be improved.  Her research is part of a broader collaboration between the School of English & Media Studies and Massey’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research on disaster safety communication, and was funded by a scholarship from GNS Science.  Her Summer Scholarship is funded by Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Leleiga’s research is innovative and transdisciplinary, looking at safety research from new angles to add to our existing understanding.  She is supervised by the cross-disciplinary team of Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley (School of English & Media Studies) and Dr Mimi Hodis (School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing).

See more about the project at:

Skitrip yields important safety information

Leleiga’s first scholarship win

Ruapehu on the radio


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