Exercise Rū Whenua 2024
We are testing New Zealand’s arrangements for responding to and recovering from a significant Alpine fault earthquake event.
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Exercise Rū Whenua (earthquake) is a national (Tier 4) exercise under the National CDEM Exercise Programme. It is also a significant activity under the Interagency National Exercise Programme.
The Exercise will take place over three main days – on 12 June, 26 June, and 10 July 2024. It will be based on an Alpine Fault earthquake scenario. This will test New Zealand’s arrangements for responding to and recovering from a major earthquake with widespread impacts.
Exercising is a core part of readiness and helps identify gaps and issues. The identified lessons are integrated into plans and procedures that improve our ability to respond to and recover from emergencies.
While we can’t predict when an earthquake will happen, scientific research indicates there is a 75% probability of an Alpine Fault earthquake greater than magnitude 7 happneing in the next 50 years, and that there is a 4 out of 5 chance that it will be a magnitude 8+ event.
Geological evidence shows that the Alpine Fault has a regular history of producing large earthquakes. Over the last 8000 years, the Alpine Fault has ruptured 27 times. On average that’s every 300 years. The last significant quake on the Alpine Fault was in 1717.
The next severe earthquake on the Alpine Fault is likely to be within our lifetime or our children's. Such an event is expected to require a coordinated multi-agency national response and include international support.
Despite being based on an earthquake scenario, the exercise will also be an opportunity to test or practice some of the lessons identified following the response to the January and February 2023 North Island severe weather events.
Using a realistic scenario developed by the AF8 Programme, Exercise Rū Whenua is a great opportunity to practise your agency’s arrangements for what would be a significant emergency response requiring coordination and support from across New Zealand.
For exercise planning purposes we are expecting Wellington to be disrupted but functional and not requiring the national response to be led out of an alternative location.
Led by the National Emergency Management Agency, the exercise will be supported by all CDEM Groups nationwide and we encourage other central government agencies, emergency services, lifeline utilities, and other support organisations to get involved.
Check back here later in 2023 to formally register your agency’s interest in being involved.
We’re developing a range of templates and resources for you to help plan the exercise in your agency.
Check back here regularly for recently added materials.
- CDEM Exercises Director’s Guideline for Civil Defence & Emergency Management Groups [DGL 010/19] – will be used by the Exercise Rū Whenua planning team for exercise planning. Participating agencies are encouraged to use this for Exercise Rū Whenua development.
- Warning Order (160kb .pdf) – this is the initial notification of the exercise.
E-newsletters for participants/interested parties will be produced throughout 2023-24.
Contact the exercise planning team at firstname.lastname@example.org