Civil Defence in our Region

Some people may be surprised to learn that Civil Defence is not a individual agency such as Police, Fire or the Defence Force. Instead emergency management in our Region is coordinated via our Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group which is based on regional boundaries and combines local councils, emergency services, health boards and other organisations to take a highly coordinated approach to emergency management. The Manawatu-Wanganui CDEM Group works together to reduce the potential effects of hazards; promote community and Council readiness (preparedness) to respond to emergencies; and help the community to recover after an event.

This page is dedicated to providing useful information for preparing for an emergency – in  particular a major earthquake or tsunami threat.


If you are in a coastal area and experience an earthquake that goes on for longer than a minute or makes it hard to stand up, or the sea behaves abnormally, leave immediately for high ground. Do not wait for an official evacuation notice - tsunamis can arrive within a minutes and without warning. If there is a tsunami threat that allows time for evacuation notices, these will come from your city or district council. To find out what the official tsunami evacuation procedures are for your area please contact your local council.  

Tsunami Signage

Signage displaying information about tsunamis and at risk areas have been erected in all coastal communities across the Region. The signs and the information contained within them are the responsibility of the local district council so please contact them directly if you have any specific questions.
Below you will find evacuation maps for each populated area. The west coast area maps also show the designated safe zones. If you live in one of these communities, or are planning on visiting one of these beaches, we suggest familiarising yourself with the maps which you can click to open and save.  Please remember that nearly all of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes and all of our coastline is at risk of tsunami, if you are near the coast and there is a long or strong earthquake, evacuate to higher ground immediately.




Scotts Ferry


Himatangi Beach

Foxton Beach


Hokio Beach

Waikawa Beach



Get ready at home

Disaster may strike while you are at home, or you may be able to get home after an emergency. In some cases, home is the safest place to be and allows your family some comfort. Utilities and emergency services may be disrupted or unable to help everyone as quickly as needed, so plan to look after yourself and your family for at least three days.

Have a household emergency plan. Practice your plan, and talk to children to help them feel included in the process.

Have emergency survival items on hand. Keep them in one place together (ideally in a sealed container), and if you dip into the supplies make sure you restock it. Download a checklist of items here.

Have a separate getaway kit in case you need to leave home in a hurry. It’s important that this is kept current as it is useful not just for disasters, but also if you need to evacuate your home for any reason. Download a checklist for your getaway kit here.

If you have pets, domestic animals or livestock, make sure you include them in your emergency planning.

Learn how to safely store water here.

Learn about how to make an emergency toilet here.

Find a list of the radio stations that broadcast important information and advice in an emergency here. Remember to record the frequency for your local stations in your household emergency plan.

Test your skills as a 'Surviva' in our fun Surviva Game and see how prepared you are. 

Get Ready to Get Thru

We can’t predict when earthquakes and tsunami will happen, but you can help protect yourself and your family.

In an earthquake - Drop, cover, hold
This makes you a smaller target, stops you being knocked over and protects your head, neck and vital organs.

If you are near the coast - Long, strong, gone
If you feel an earthquake that rolls for more than a minute OR makes it hard to stand up, don’t wait for a tsunami warning. Move to high ground or as far inland as you can. Walk if you can. Stay there until you get the all clear. 

Make a plan today
Know where to go, find out who can help you and who might need your help.

Get your car ready

What would you do if disaster struck while you are in your car? In some emergencies you may be stranded in your vehicle for some time. A flood, snow storm or major traffic accident could make it nearly impossible to get home.

  • Store a pair of walking shoes, a waterproof jacket, any essential medicines, some snack food, drinking water, toilet paper and a rubbish bag, and a torch in your car.
  • If you are driving in extreme winter conditions, add windshield scrapers, a brush, a shovel, tire chains and some warm clothing to your emergency kit.
  • When planning travel, keep up to date with weather and roading information.

Get your business ready

A disaster can strike during work hours, so help get your staff ready and your business prepared. Put together a workplace emergency plan and encourage your staff to keep essential items they may need at work, including sturdy walking shoes, a waterproof jacket, a torch, some snack food and water.

Get ready at preschool and school

Children should be included in planning for an emergency. It will help reduce fear and anxiety about an emergency, and will make sure they’re prepared if a disaster strikes while they’re at preschool or school. Preschools and schools should have their own emergency plans in place, and most will have emergency survival supplies and items. There are also resources available to help teachers talk about and encourage discussion around disasters and emergencies.