Te Pohue students have got their "drop, cover and hold" sorted and are also adept at making volcanic eruptions, thanks to a recent visit to the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

The senior class had the distinction of becoming the first school group to use the "Life at the Boundary" education programme.

It is a great way to raise that awareness, Te Pohue School teacher Tim Orbell said.

The LAB and education programme are part of a three pronged approach to help communities on the East Coast better understand the natural hazards they face, including earthquakes and tsunami.


Mr Orbell said fantastic detailed wall displays, testing whether you know what to do in an earthquake and fun hands-on activities such as mixing ingredients to create their own volcanic eruptions means some have become more interested in science, particularly earth science.

"My kids really enjoyed it. It was good value to reinforce and mirror their in-class learning. It let the children see firsthand why New Zealanders need to be aware of natural hazards," Mr Orbell said.

All students who go through the programme are also given a challenge to develop their own action plan to ensure their families are better prepared for an emergency.

The third element of the programme is the East Coast LAB project which aims to encourage people to engage with and participate in science so they understand the risks, how to prepare and respond to hazard events such as earthquakes and tsunami, and how to recover.

The US National Science Foundation has selected the Hikurangi plate boundary as one of three places in the world where a large amount of research effort and money will be spent on understanding subduction plate boundary phenomena over the next decade.

East Coast LAB will leverage off this research plus national research being carried out by GNS Science, NIWA and several NZ universities over the next few years.