Today’s release of the ‘Review of Tsunami Hazard in New Zealand’ is a timely reminder for people in the Wellington region to check their vulnerability and ensure they have plans to quickly respond to a threat of tsunami.

Jenny Rowan, Chair of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Committee, has welcomed the review released by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management saying it reinforces many of the messages Wellingtonians have been hearing about earthquakes and tsunami over the past few months.

“We can’t predict when or if a tsunami might hit the Wellington region’s coasts but we can ensure we are prepared,” Ms Rowan says.

“This review shows there has been a change in the hazard potential for a small area of the Wairarapa coast around Castlepoint, increasing the maximum tsunami height risk to 12 plus metres.

“However the evacuation routes and evacuation areas already identified for this part of the coast by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) already covered this level of risk.”

Ms Rowan says it is up to all coastal residents to understand their particular vulnerability to tsunami, and plan their evacuation route to a safe area.

“This is a timely reminder for everyone to check the tsunami threat for their home or business, and have an evacuation plan agreed.

“If people experience an earthquake during which they can’t remain standing or which lasts for over a minute, then they should not wait for a warning but immediately evacuate inland or to higher ground. A tsunami might not be generated but it is better to be safe than sorry.

“In the event of a tsunami created by a large offshore earthquake which we do not feel, we will have more time to alert people to evacuate.”

Ms Rowan says WREMO is currently reviewing the tsunami evacuation procedures in the Wellington region and this latest report will be very useful. WREMO has already arranged a meeting with the author of the report to better understand if changes are required for existing plans.

Released: 
19 November 2013