One week to go until New Zealand’s national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi

Over half a million people have signed up to take part in this year’s New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi.

On Thursday 15 October at 9:30am, people across New Zealand will join together to practise the correct actions to take during an earthquake and tsunami by participating in the annual ShakeOut drill.

In 2019, around 800,000 kiwis across schools, business and households signed up to Drop, Cover and Hold, and practise their tsunami hīkoi evacuation route if in a coastal area.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black says by practising ShakeOut every year, knowing what to do in an earthquake and tsunami will become second nature.

“Everyone can use ShakeOut to practise the correct action to take in the event of an earthquake and potential tsunami, and remind themselves to check preparedness plans and emergency supplies,” Ms Stuart-Black says.

This year’s official drill will be hosted by Matatā Public School in Bay of Plenty and livestreamed on the NZ Civil Defence Facebook page so the whole country can Drop, Cover and Hold with the Matatā students. Sarah Stuart-Black says tamariki lead the way in participating in ShakeOut.

“We want to see all children across the country taking part in ShakeOut, as they will become the new generation of prepared New Zealanders and encourage their family, friends and wh­ānau to be prepared too,” Sarah Stuart-Black said.

This year’s New Zealand ShakeOut is co-sponsored by the Earthquake Commission (EQC). EQC Chief Resilience & Research Officer, Dr Jo Horrocks says it’s great to grow EQC’s role in such an important event.

“It’s always fantastic to see so many Kiwis get involved with ShakeOut. Taking a bit of time to think about how hazards could affect us at home, work or school, and then taking steps to prepare – these are things that will make a big difference in a disaster.”

New Zealand ShakeOut is based on the highly successful California ShakeOut which began in 2008 and has now expanded to numerous other US states and countries such as Canada and Japan.

The New Zealand ShakeOut 2020 earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is taking place on Thursday 15 October 2020 at 9:30am.

To sign up for ShakeOut 2020 and find more information, visit the You can check out our fun animated ShakeOut video here.

Published: Oct 8, 2020, 9:30 AM