National Emergency Management Agency

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

National Emergency Management Agency

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) provides strong, national leadership to create an emergency management system that reduces the impact of emergencies.

NEMA works with central and local government, communities, iwi, and business to make sure responses to and recoveries from emergencies are effective and integrated.

Emergencies can have consequences for people, communities, property, infrastructure, the economy and the environment. We support communities to reduce the impact of emergencies across all hazards and risks.

Depending on the emergency, we lead or support the response and recovery. We work to build the capability and capacity of the emergency management system to reduce risk, to be ready for emergencies, and to respond and recover from them.

NEMA is an autonomous departmental agency, hosted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Carolyn Schwalger is interim Chief Executive of NEMA. Sarah Stuart-Black is Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management and Deputy Chief Executive of NEMA.

NEMA was established on 1 December 2019, replacing the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. All references to MCDEM on websites, documents, Director’s Guidelines, codes or standards etc. are to be read as a reference to NEMA.

Read more about the establishment of NEMA

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 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.


Organisation Chart

NEMA organisation chart 14 July 2020 (.pdf 556kb)


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 of Civil Defence

The Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Civil Defence gives an overview of the Civil Defence portfolio and identifies some of the more significant issues and opportunities.

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.