banner image

Get ready to ShakeOut Tairāwhiti

Friday 30 September, 2022

Registrations are now open for the national ShakeOut event happening next month.

As part of our region’s earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, Civil Defence and Council are encouraging everyone to take part.

Wherever you are at 9.30am, Thursday 27 October, drop, cover, and hold for one minute.

Then, move to higher ground or an area zoned safe from a tsunami.

Registrations for this event are open now on New Zealand ShakeOut — Get Ready — Emergency preparedness in New Zealand

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence and Emergency Manager Ben Green encourages the whole community to register and take part.

“Last year, Tairāwhiti topped the national registration leader board – let’s do it again.”

“We're a coastal region and our proximity to the Hikurangi subduction zone means we must be prepared.

“It is important to know ahead of time what you would do and where you need to go, in the event of a large earthquake that triggers a tsunami along our coast.

“Our advice is that if an earthquake is long or strong, get gone.”

Search your home, work or school address to find out if it is in a tsunami evacuation zone.

Tsunami evacuation zones — Get Ready — Emergency preparedness in New Zealand

Last week Tairāwhiti Emergency Management hosted a three-day conference and workshop -- M9 Hikurangi. It brought international scientists and tsunami specialists to this region – who’ve been to places where tsunamis have hit, and who’ve studied the 2011 Japan earthquake.

Social Scientist Marion Tan spoke at the workshop and shared how people responded after the 2011 Japan earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Dr Tan works at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR) and during her presentation, she explained that many lives were saved because people evacuated to higher ground immediately after the earthquake stopped. They relied on natural warning signs like the shaking itself, the sea receding and noise.

“Don’t wait for technology to tell you to evacuate. Know what the warning signs are in nature and make your own decision,” says Dr Tan.

This is important because a subduction zone earthquake in this region will most likely cause a local tsunami that gives us all only 15 to 20 minutes to get to higher ground.

Dr Tan says another key learning from the Japan earthquake was the importance of schools having evacuation plans and practising them, so parents and caregivers can trust the schools to do the right thing for their children.

Parents trying to cross town risk lives and cause congestion.

“Go separately and safely,” she says.

Dr Tan says ShakeOut is a great opportunity to practice what we’d do and talk about what our response would be to a significant earthquake event.

“People who practice drills and exercises are more likely to be safe after events. But also, when we participate in ShakeOut, we start having conversations about our readiness for earthquakes, with our friends, colleagues, and family, which contributes to improving our resilience.”

Register for ShakeOut here.