24-7 Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting Centre
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, staff at NEMA's Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre monitor, assess and report on potential hazards. When there is an emergency, the Centre will provide situational awareness so that NEMA or other agencies can respond – and, where necessary, alert the public about threats to life or property.
The MAR Centre was established in response to the 2018 Ministerial Review into Better Responses to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies. The Review made recommendations to establish an integrated 24/7 operation for the monitoring and alerting of emergencies, in order to increase the speed by which alerts were provided and distributed, particularly regarding providing timely and geographically accurate tsunami warnings.
The MAR Centre is located within NEMA’s offices at TSB House on Lambton Quay in Wellington.
As a specialist facility sitting within NEMA's National Operations Team, the Centre is staffed by four Watches operating on a rotating 24/7 roster. Each Watch consists of a Watch Leader and up to four Watch Officers. These staff are drawn from a wide range of emergency management and other organisations, bringing a diverse range of skills and experience to the Centre.
The MAR Centre mission is: To inform our partners, the Government, and the New Zealand public of emerging and imminent natural hazard risks to support a safe and resilient Aotearoa New Zealand.
The core mahi of the Centre involves sending out messages and warnings regarding potential natural hazards to NEMA’s partners and the public. These ensure people in Aotearoa New Zealand are notified about current or emerging threats to life or safety, and what they need to do to stay safe.
When facing earthquake, tsunami or volcanic activity events, the MAR Centre works closely with GNS Science’s National Geohazards Monitoring Centre (NGMC).
The NGMC monitors and measures seismic and other activity to produce assessments which are fed through to the MAR Centre.
The monitoring network includes a series of strategically placed deep ocean assessment and reporting of tsunami (DART) stations (shown on the right) which monitor ocean pressure changes.
This information provides early warning of tsunamis generated by earthquakes, underwater volcanic eruptions, and underwater landslides.
MAR Centre staff then use the NGMC information to produce the appropriate advisories and warning messages for NEMA’s partners and the public.
This messaging is published through email and phone calls for partners and stakeholders, as well as social media platforms and the NEMA website for the public.
Aotearoa is buffeted by frequent year-round severe weather events which can threaten the public and key infrastructure. Working closely with MetService, the MAR Centre monitors current severe weather events, as well their potential impact on parts of the country.
In addition, the MAR Centre undertakes other work including:
- Production of a Daily Intelligence Briefing (DIB) which is disseminated to internal and external partners. The briefing details the development of and response to natural disasters and hazards in both Aotearoa and Pacific areas.
- The MAR Centre regularly organises multi-agency meetings in preparation of hazard events, and these serve as an opportunity for all parties involved to connect and share information with each other.
- Regularly reporting to the Minister for Emergency Management to ensure the Government is kept up to date with and aware of any natural hazard events and their development.
The staff at the MAR Centre conduct regular exercises to test their capability and readiness. These exercises involve different drills consisting of earthquake, tsunami, and volcanic eruption scenarios. The training focusses on agility and decision making, as well as proficiency using the different warning systems.
The MAR Centre also maintains comprehensive business continuity plans to ensure staff can manage a range of infrastructure and other failures or if need be, relocate to the National Crisis Management Centre (NGMC) under the Beehive in Wellington, or any other remote location.
The continuous training and well-practiced business continuity planning ensures that the MAR Centre is prepared for any scenario, at any time.