National Exercise Programme (interagency)

The National Security System National Exercise Programme (NEP) was established in 2013 to help ensure that New Zealand is prepared to effectively respond to national security (all hazard) events.

Background to New Zealand's national security system

New Zealand identifies national security risks on an “all-hazards” basis. This means that all risks to national security, whether internal or external, natural or man-made, are included within the scope of our national security system, and agencies need to be prepared to respond and recover in a coordinate manner.

About the National Exercise Programme

The National Exercise Programme is chaired by the National Emergency Management Agency and reports to the Hazard Risk Board (the NSS governance body responsible for building resilience). The National Exercise Programme builds capability across government through a coordinated series of interagency readiness activities, measured against a set of national objectives. Capability is also built through the capture and sharing of lessons identified from previous events and exercises.

Exercise Whakautu II from DPMC - NZ on Vimeo.

Exercise Whakautu II video courtesy of Maritime New Zealand.

The National Exercise Programme is supported by a Planning and Coordination Team which maintains oversight of nationally significant exercises; supports national exercising consistency and reduces duplication of effort; and provides guidance to agency-led exercise writing and planning groups. It plays a critical part in ensuring that all national exercises are designed to a high standard and that information is communicated in a timely manner in order to facilitate good exercise planning amongst all agencies. The NEP Planning and Coordination Team also serves as a platform for connectivity, mentoring and relationship-building between agencies.

Exercise Schedule

In December 2020, the Hazard Risk Board approved an amended schedule of exercises to take place between 2021 - 2023. Some of the key exercises are listed below:

FY 2020/2021

  • Irregular migration in the COVID-19 context
  • Major cyber incident in the COVID-19 context
  • Legal powers issues

FY 2021/2022

  • Counter-terrorism (Exercise RESOLUTION) 
  • Weapons proliferation (Exercise MARU) 
  • Misinformation/disinformation (to support the 2023 election)

FY 2022/2023

  • Search and Rescue
  • Alpine Fault Earthquake (Exercise RU WHENUA) 
  • Major industrial incident
  • Food-related event or major biosecurity  

To note, the schedule is designed to be flexible, and the Programme may change to address new risks as they arise, as well as to take into account the need for agencies to respond to real emergencies when they occur.

This is not a complete list - for details of the full programme, please contact

How you can get involved?

In order to be successful, the National Exercise Programme needs to engage a wide range of government, industry and non-government organisations.

There are a range of opportunities for organisations to be involved in National Exercise Programme activities. These can range from observing exercises through to fully participating in the planning and delivery of activities. Organisations are also able to link into National Exercise Programme events to facilitate the testing of their own readiness and business continuity processes. If you think your agency wants to get involved, then contact the National Exercise Programme Planning and Coordination Team at