National Emergency Management Agency

The National Emergency Management Agency provides leadership in reducing risk, being ready for, responding to and recovering from emergencies.

About the National Emergency Management Agency

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is the Government lead for emergency management. We help build a safe and resilient Aotearoa New Zealand by empowering communities before, during and after emergencies.

Emergencies can have consequences for people, communities, property, infrastructure, the economy and the environment. NEMA works with central and local government, communities, iwi, and business to make sure responses to and recoveries from emergencies are effective and integrated.

Depending on the emergency, NEMA leads or supports the response and recovery.

NEMA’s key functions are steward, operator and assurer of the emergency management system.

As steward, we provide strategic leadership for risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery activities, and build emergency management capability and capacity.

As operator, we lead or support the response to and recovery from emergencies while also supporting the operation of the emergency management system.

As assurer (a new function) we will provide assurance that the emergency management system is fit for purpose.

What is a departmental agency?

A departmental agency is an operationally autonomous agency with its own chief executive, hosted by a department of the Public Service. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is NEMA’s host agency.

Why was NEMA established?

The decision to establish the National Emergency Management Agency is part of the Government’s response to a Ministerial review into better responses to natural disasters and other emergencies, commissioned after the November 2016 earthquake and tsunami and the 2017 Port Hills fire.

The review’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) found that, although New Zealand’s emergency management system is fundamentally sound, several issues need to be addressed.

The TAG report contained 42 recommendations to improve the system, including establishing a National Emergency Management Agency to replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM).

How is NEMA different from MCDEM?

As a departmental agency, NEMA has greater autonomy than MCDEM had. The government has also given NEMA an important stewardship role that requires it to lead and coordinate across the emergency management system (including central and local government) for all hazards and all risks.

What is NEMA's Māori name?

The correct Māori translation is Te Rākau Whakamarumaru i te Mate Ohotata, meaning:  “The Tree that Shelters and Protects”.

The name was bequeathed to our organisation by the Maori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori in August 1999.

The Māori name given to our organisation aimed to convey our mission of community resilience, through the protection of Tane Mahuta, to the sustenance, strength and support of the earth and plants surrounding the tree.


Strategic Framework

The Strategic Framework guides NEMA in meeting the Government’s vision for Aotearoa New Zealand’s emergency management system.

NEMA Strategic Framework - Te Reo version (.pdf 2mb)

NEMA Strategic Framework - English version (.pdf 2mb)


Annual Report and Strategic Intentions

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Annual Report 2022/23 for the year ended 30 June 2023.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Annual Report 2021/22 for the year ended 30 June 2022.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Annual Report 2020/21 for the year ended 30 June 2021.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Annual Report 2019/20 for the year ended 30 June 2020.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Strategic Intentions 2020/21 to 2023/24.


Strategic Business Plan

The strategic business plan outlines the strategic directions. Within the plan are the goals and objectives identified as necessary to achieve the plan.

View previous strategic business plans.


Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery

The Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery gives an overview of the Emergency Management portfolio and identifies some of the more significant issues and opportunities. Prior to 2020, the Emergency Management ministerial portfolio was titled 'Civil Defence'.

Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery November 2023

Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Emergency Management June 2022 (.pdf 2.6mb)

Briefing to the returning Minister for Emergency Management August 2021(.pdf 4.4mb)

Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Emergency Management November 2020 (external link to PDF on beehive.govt.nz website)

Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence June 2019 (1.6mb)

Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence October 2017

Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence April 2017 (.pdf 1.6mb)

Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence December 2016 (.pdf 954kb)

Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence October 2014 (.pdf 832kb)


Chief Executive expenses disclosures

Disclosure of the Chief Executive of the National Emergency Management Agency's expenses including gifts, hospitality and travel.