Readiness: Get prepared to respond to a tsunami
This page provides tsunami readiness messages
Find out if the places where you live, work or frequently visit are in tsunami hazard areas. Be aware of tsunami evacuation zones, tsunami evacuation routes, and warning methods and signage.
If you are visiting an area at risk from tsunami, check with the hotel, motel or campground operators for tsunami evacuation information, and find out what the local warning system is for tsunami. It is important to know the evacuation routes before any natural or official warnings.
A tsunami evacuation zone is an area that you may need to leave if you feel a long or strong earthquake, or if there is an official tsunami warning.
Make sure you know where to go, whether you are at home, at mahi/work or out and about. Search for your home, work or school address on the nationwide tsunami evacuation zones map to find out if they are in a tsunami evacuation zone.
Your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has tsunami evacuation zone maps and local/regional advice.
Most regions have three tsunami evacuation zones – red, orange and yellow – based on the areas that can be affected in different sized tsunami.
- The Red Zone is the marine and beach exclusion zone (includes beaches, harbours, rivers and estuaries). This is the zone that will be evacuated in the event of any expected tsunami and therefore the one we most often ask people to stay out of when a tsunami warning is issued.
- The Orange Zone is the area which may be inundated in a distant or regional-source tsunami.
- The Yellow Zone is designed to keep people safe from the largest tsunami we could experience and includes the highest impact tsunami events.
If you feel a long or strong earthquake, you must move immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can, out of tsunami evacuation zones. Do not wait for an official warning. The earthquake itself is your only warning.
In a regional or distant source tsunami where there is time for an official warning to be issued, you may be advised which zones you need to leave by your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
If you live near the coast but are not located in a tsunami evacuation zone, you do not need to evacuate. Your whare/home could be a safe location for friends and family who live inside an evacuation zone and need to evacuate.
If your whare/home, farm, kura/school, wāhi mahi / workplace, or any other place you frequently go is in a tsunami evacuation zone, you should plan an evacuation route.
Your evacuation route needs to take you out of tsunami evacuation zones. Even if you can’t get out of your evacuation zone, go as far or as high inland as you can. Every metre makes a difference.
You should be able to reach your safe location as soon as possible. Your safe location could be a friend or relative’s house in short distance outside of the tsunami evacuation zones. Follow posted tsunami evacuation routes where present - these will lead to safety.
Plan to evacuate on foot or bicycle if you can. After an earthquake, roads and bridges may be damaged or blocked. Plan different evacuation routes to account for this.
Practise your evacuation route or ‘tsunami hīkoi’. A tsunami hīkoi is a walk that takes you along your tsunami evacuation route either inland or towards high ground. Being familiar with your route may save your life.
Practise your evacuation walk to high ground or inland by foot or bicycle.
- Make sure you can follow your route at night and during bad weather.
- Practising your tsunami evacuation route helps your muscle memory kick in when an event occurs, even in a very stressful situation.
If your children’s kura/school is in a tsunami evacuation zone, find out what the kura/school evacuation plan is. Do not travel through tsunami evacuation zones to your children’s kura/school during an event.
Parents and guardians need to know, in advance, all emergency procedures especially the safe locations and family reunification procedures.
Find out where the kura/school’s safe location is so you know where your children can be picked up from, after the “all-clear” is given.