Updated tsunami maps released

23 Aug 2017

Northlanders are being encouraged to familiarise themselves with an updated set of tsunami evacuation maps, covering Northland's 3,200km of coastline.

The maps are more user-friendly than the earlier versions they replace and allow users to enter their address to go directly to the relevant location on the maps, which can also be exported, saved and printed.

Councillor Rick Stolwerk, who represents the regional council on the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said the previous tsunami zones for Northland were created by GNS Science in 2011. GNS Science was again commissioned last year to develop updated zones, making use of significant advances in the science of modelling tsunami, along with high-quality land surface data for Northland available through LiDAR (a laser-based mapping technology).

Councillor Stolwerk urged Northlanders to update their understanding of the tsunami risk and evacuation routes from the locations where they live, work and play.

"All of New Zealand's coastline is at risk of tsunami, and given that so many Northlanders love spending time on the coast, it's important to spend some time learning how to reduce that risk.

First and foremost is knowing the natural warning signs of a local source tsunami – one that could arrive without time for any official warning. "If people are on the coast and experience a long or strong earthquake, change in sea level or loud or unusual noises coming from the sea, they should move inland or to high ground without waiting for further information," says Councillor Stolwerk.

"Ideally, those with the ability to do so should evacuate on foot to minimise traffic congestion.

"It's also a good time to think about aspects such as having multiple alerting options and sources of information – the free Hazard app for smartphones and the Civil Defence Northland Facebook page are two good
examples – and how to let friends and neighbours know in the event of a tsunami warning."

Meanwhile, Northland's network of 171 tsunami sirens remains the largest in New Zealand and is expanded every year, with additional budget having been allocated this year following last November's Kaikoura earthquake and the consequent tsunami warning.

Sources of more information:

The new tsunami evacuation maps www.nrc.govt.nz/evacuationzones

The Hazard app www.nrc.govt.nz/cdalert

The Civil Defence Northland Facebook page www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland

Getaway kits and household plans www.happens.nz