New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team

This page provides information about the New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team

New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team logo


What is the New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team?

The New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team (or EMAT) is a new capability in the emergency management system, and their establishment is the Government’s response to the recommendations to establish a ‘fly-in team’ in the Technical Advisory Group’s report on better responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. The name reflects the purpose and structure of the team which is to provide specialist capability enhancement to assist and support the affected incident controller and their incident management team manage an emergency.

EMAT helps ensure that New Zealanders receive a consistent level of support in any emergency, wherever and whenever it happens.

EMAT has people with a mix of the appropriate attributes, skills and experience to go wherever required, without delay, to work with and support the local team as they manage emergencies.

For further information please contact 

EMAT initial training course

What does the New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team offer requesting agencies?

EMAT offers requesting agencies:

  • a multi-disciplinary team, recruited from central and local government and emergency services, with training in personal and inter-personal skills designed to enhance the effectiveness of the incident management team across all hazards all risks,
  • a self-sufficient team able to live and operate, when required, in austere post-disaster conditions,
  • four deployable coordination centre facilities with basic Coordination Centre infrastructure including multi-purpose deployable habitation to provide work areas, as well as coordination centre equipment, lighting, power and data,
  • increased certainty on surge staffing, with a target operational time of 24 hours of the response being made and approved, with the ability to remain deployed for up to 14 days.

EMAT is predominantly focused on supporting response and early recovery at the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group level, enabling the Group Controller to effectively coordinate across a range of responding agencies and community groups.

The EMAT is able to:

  • assist the Local or Group Controller/Recovery Manager in establishing an effective response and recovery when there are difficulties in doing this,
  • support the Local or Group Controller/Recovery Manager to identify any critical resources or capabilities that could add value to the response and recovery effort,
  • provide support when local, regional or national level staff are directly affected by the emergency themselves, or overwhelmed or exhausted by the scale and/or length of the event or emergency,
  • assist the Group Controller/Recovery Manager to provide assurance to the public and Ministers about response and/or recovery activities.

How does the New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team work?

The EMAT cadre is drawn from personnel working in a wide range of qualifying agencies. Qualifying agencies include central and local government agencies, the emergency services and New Zealand Defence Force. These personnel have significant experience in crisis response and emergency management in a range of settings in New Zealand and overseas, as well as specialist skills in Public Information Management, Strategic Communications and community engagement.

Current EMAT members are drawn from:

  • St John (3 members)
  • Northland CDEM (2 members)
  • Whanganui District Council
  • Department of Conservation (2 members)
  • West Coast CDEM
  • Christchurch City Council (3 members)
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office
  • Te Puni Kokiri
  • Emergency Management Otago
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand (4 members)
  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Bay of Plenty CDEM (2 members)
  • Manawatu District Council
  • Pike River Recovery Agency
  • Canterbury CDEM Group 
  • DPMC
  • MacKenzie District Council
  • Hurunui District Council.

The EMAT cadre is managed day-to-day by an EMAT Manager based within the National Emergency Management Agency. In a response the deployment of team members would be managed by National Emergency Management Agency duty staff or the National Crisis Management Centre if it is activated.

EMAT members have comprehensive personal equipment and uniform and PPE enabling them to deploy and operate effectively in an austere environment after a disaster.

two people talking inside a deployable coordination centreEMAT deployments will be supported by deployable caches, maintained and deployed by Fire and Emergency New Zealand on behalf of EMAT, containing multi-function habitation and high-speed satellite communication equipment which can provide additional coordination centre facilities to augment existing centres. These caches are being developed over the next six months.

EMAT has partnered with Fire and Emergency New Zealand to provide specialist Operational Support & Logistics including specialist humanitarian logistics staff and cache storage to support EMAT and the deployable coordination centre facilities.

In an emergency a Controller can request the deployment of a team to provide specific support which will be agreed by the National Emergency Management Agency at the time. This is done through their Regional Emergency Management Advisor or the National Emergency Management Advisor Duty Officer. EMAT members are paid by their home agency while the National Emergency Management Agency coordinate and fund the logistics to deploy and support the team in the field.

What does membership of the New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team offer individuals and their home agencies?

The benefits of team membership include:

  • the significant and ongoing investment in capability and personal development of each NZ EMAT volunteer, transferrable to their home agencies
  • exposing NZ EMAT volunteers to a broader range of events and emergencies than they would deal with in their home agency, resulting in professional growth and an increased depth of experience
  • enhanced cross-agency connections at local, regional and national levels.