Te rū whenua



Earthquakes can happen at any time, without warning and are often followed by aftershocks. Earthquakes happen each day in New Zealand with over 20,000 recorded in and around the country each year. Most are too small to be noticed, however, 150 earthquakes a year are large enough to be felt in New Zealand.

Earthquakes can trigger other hazards such as:

  • Liquefaction
  • Landslides
  • Flash floods
  • Fires
  • Tsunami.

Most earthquake-related injuries and loss of life result from falling debris, flying glass and collapsing structures such as buildings and bridges. Earthquakes may require widespread evacuations and result in damage to buildings, lifeline utility disruption and environmental impacts.

While earthquakes are common in New Zealand, Auckland lies in a seismically quiet part of the country. However, earthquakes have been felt in Auckland in the past.



What do I need to do to be ready?


Preparedness can help reduce the damage to your home and business and help you survive.

Getting ready before an earthquake strikes will help reduce the damage to your home and business and help you survive.

  • Check the Auckland’s Hazards Viewer to find out about Auckland’s earthquake risk
  • Think about quake-proofing your home; there are some simple things you can do around your home to prevent damage and injury from earthquakes such as securing heavy items to the floor and walls
  • Know the correct action to take during an earthquake and practice Drop, Cover, Hold
  • Check your household and contents insurance for cover and amounts; many people are under-insured or not at all
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home and your office or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture such as a sturdy table or desk, or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you
  • Keep a torch and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed
  • Inform guests, babysitters, and caregivers of earthquake plans. Everyone in your home should know what to do if an earthquake occurs, even if you are not there at the time
  • If you are near a coast know your tsunami evacuation route.


Remember Drop, Cover and Hold when an earthquake is happening

Drop, Cover and Hold

It stops you being knocked over, makes you a smaller target for falling and flying objects, and protects your head, neck and vital organs.

DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.

COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you). If there’s no shelter nearby, drop and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.

HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it. If there’s no shelter near you, crawl to an inside corner of the room and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Don’t run outside or stand in a doorway. Many people are injured while trying to move DURING the shaking. It’s safer to Drop, Cover and Hold until the shaking is over.

  • If you’re inside a building, move no more than a few steps, Drop, Cover and Hold; stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in New Zealand you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops
  • If you’re in an elevator, Drop, Cover and Hold; when the shaking stops, try and get out at the nearest floor if you can safely do so
  • If you’re outdoors, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold
  • If you’re at the beach or near the coast, Drop, Cover and Hold until the shaking stops, then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake
  • If you’re driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged
  • If you’re in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides.


It can still be hazardous after an earthquake, find out what you need to check.

After the shaking has stopped:

  • Expect to feel aftershocks
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary, help others and people who require special assistance if you can – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities and the people who care for them
  • Be aware that electricity supply could be cut off and fire alarms and sprinkler systems can go off in buildings during an earthquake even if there is no fire; check for, and extinguish small fires
  • If you’re in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place; use the stairs, not the elevators.

How ready are you?