National Public Education Programme

Read an overview of the National Public Education Programme.

The redeveloped programme will take a staged, targeted, evidence-based approach, with resources developed and adapted to suit different channels, with a particular focus on reaching our most vulnerable audiences.

In the past we have focused on moving people from unawareness/apathetic awareness to total preparedness, resilience, self-responsibility and community responsibility. While this ‘one size fits all’ approach has worked for some people, we know that many New Zealanders are unaware of the need to prepare and are not motivated to take any steps to preparedness.

Our previous programme also focused on talking about the types of disasters likely to occur in New Zealand and providing prescriptive advice on the actions people need to take to get prepared.

Research indicates that advocating highly prescriptive preparation measures – such as extensive survival kits and detailed plans – can be counterproductive in improving preparation because it seems too onerous.

There is an assumption held by many New Zealanders, particularly in our target groups, that the impacts of major emergencies are unlikely to affect them. When advocating for preparation, focusing on specific disasters – such as earthquakes – can fuel complacency, as areas such as Auckland seldom experience such hazards, and reinforce fatalism (the belief that “there’s nothing I can do about it”).

Our redeveloped approach will change the way people think about preparedness by:

  1. Reframing the conversation: Focusing more on impacts than hazards (e.g. no power, no water, no transport) and getting people to imagine themselves (and their families) in various situations. It is more effective to focus on specific impacts, such as power cuts and transport outages, as these are common across all significant emergencies, and are relatable for almost all people.
  2. Encouraging ownership: Getting people to think about what they need to do now to get their families through and prompting them to have conversations with their loved ones
  3. Making preparedness relevant and easy: Encouraging people to take small steps to be more prepared and protect the things they love, in a way that works for their family.
  4. Being positive and empowering: We will employ an approachable, positive and empowering approach, with greater use of humour and active engagement through channels such as social media.


The Public Education Programme consists of:

  • a national campaign targeted at priority audiences
  • an implementation plan with supporting resources for CDEM groups to use in their public education activity
  • a refresh of the national schools programme – What’s The Plan Stan?
  • a community-based social marketing programme, which will seek to change specific behaviours
  • additional actions by the National Emergency Management Agency and CDEM Groups to support or build on the programme.

Public Education Programme Strategy 2016-2019

Moving from “She’ll be right” to “We’re ready”

The following objectives will be used to measure the effectiveness of the redeveloped programme over the next three years

  1. More people are aware of why they need to be prepared
  2. More people understand how to prepare
  3. More people have taken steps to be more prepared.
  4. More people are fully prepared (have made plans, stored/checked and updated emergency supplies).

Full strategy (.docx 611kb)

Strategy overview (.pdf 562kb)

Group responsibilities under the CDEM Act 2002

Section 17 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 establishes clear local responsibility for public education:

17 Functions of Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

(1)The functions of a Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, and of each member, are to:

(a) in relation to relevant hazards and risks:

(ii)consult and communicate about risks:

(c) take all steps necessary on an ongoing basis to maintain and provide, or to arrange the provision of, or otherwise to make available … information, …for effective civil defence emergency management in its area:

(g) within its area, promote and raise public awareness of, and compliance with, this Act and legislative provisions relevant to the purpose of this Act:

(k) promote civil defence emergency management in its area that is consistent with the purpose of this Act.

The Way Forward ‑ Strategic Framework for the National CDEM Public Education Programme 2006 – 2015 (.doc 744kb)