Due to New Zealand's exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards, it is important for local government to have tools that enable effective use of its natural hazard risk information. This paper explores the use of risk modelling as a tool that can support local government to better understand, manage, and communicate natural hazard risk. Focus group sessions were held with emergency management and other natural hazard practitioners in councils across New Zealand to understand their perceptions on the value of risk modelling tools, particularly ‘RiskScape'. While practitioners see the value in the use of risk modelling relating to communication, decision making, planning and emergency response purposes, they also see a number of challenges. Challenges identified for the use of risk modelling relate to how emergency management and natural hazard risk is perceived and managed, issues with connecting information and developing data, and the capability of risk modelling software. Underlying these challenges is the recognition that while risk modelling can help span the science-policy interface, it is the problems with this interface that slow its development. However, with ongoing mutual engagement, risk modelling can become an effective tool to communicate natural hazard risk and better inform natural hazard policy and procedure.