Tsunami Warnings and Alerts

Emergency Mobile Alert

In the event of a tsunami emergency, an Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) may be triggered. Your phone will receive a message which will tell you what the emergency is and what to do.

The EMA system is used for other emergency events in your area. If your life, health or property is in danger, an EMA can be sent to your mobile without the need to sign up or download an app.  You can find out more about the Emergency Mobile Alerts by visiting the National Emergency Management Agency.

Check our tsunami page for information and the natural warnings you might also see at the coast.

Other communication channels

Besides Emergency Mobile Alert, we will also get the messages out through broadcast on radio, television, news media and social media platforms. We encourage people to share official messages with others to make sure the message gets out if needed. However, if you are at the coast and feel an earthquake which is long or strong, or see other natural warning signs, evacuate immediately to higher ground without waiting for an official alert.

Know the natural warning and take action


If you feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more, see a sudden rise or fall in sea level, hear loud or unusual noises from the sea, don’t wait for an official warning. Go immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can, taking the route quickest for you.

tsunami sirens

On 5 September 2023, Auckland Council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee voted to decommission the aging and compromised Meerkat tsunami siren network. This decision took effect from 1 December 2023.  

The decommissioning relates to the older siren network, and not the two sirens installed in Ōrewa in 2020, which will remain.   

To find out more, please check this OurAuckland news.

Be prepared    

Prepare your household emergency plan and practice it so everyone knows what to do in an emergency and what you need to take if you are evacuating.    

Check the Auckland hazard viewer map to see if you work, live or play in a tsunami evacuation zone. We are updating the tsunami evacuation maps this year so remember to check back regularly to see if your zone has changed.  

Check the tsunami preparedness tips on our website for what to do before, during and after a tsunami.    

What are the official warnings for tsunami?  

The Emergency Mobile Alert is the preferred method of notifying the public about dangerous tsunami threats anywhere in the country. 

In the event of a dangerous tsunami, an Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) may be triggered. EMA’s are sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable phones from targeted cell towers. The message will tell you what the emergency is and what to do.  

Click here for more information.  

Tsunami warnings are also published on the National Emergency Management’s website and social media pages. Tsunami warnings will also be broadcast on radio, television and news media, as well as on the Auckland Emergency Management website and social media pages. 

What are the natural warning signs for tsunami?    

If you are near a shore and experience any of the following, take action. Do not wait for official warnings.   

  • Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand or a long earthquake that lasts more than a minute  
  • See a sudden rise or fall in sea level  
  • Hear loud or unusual noises from the sea  


Remember! If an earthquake is LONG or STRONG, GET GONE and move to higher ground.   

Where are the tsunami sirens located in Auckland?

  • Ōrewa

What does the siren sound like?

The tsunami sirens are a combination of alert sounds, and voice instructions on what you should do. The voice message is deliberately recorded slowly to compensate for the reverberations and echoes that occur when using large public address systems in a wide-open space.

Tsunami siren pattern & test message:

“Attention Please. This is a test of the Auckland Emergency Management Tsunami Siren Network. The next sound you hear will be the standard emergency warning signal.” 

Siren tone (5x “whoops”)

“In the event of a siren activation, follow the instructions that accompany this signal. Thank you.”

<Siren ends>

Check and listen to the siren sound sample


In a tsunami emergency, always follow the instructions of the emergency services.

Create an emergency plan for your home and whānau and practice it so everyone knows what to do in an emergency and what you need to take if you are evacuating. If you need help with your plan, check out getready.govt.nz.

If you are asked to evacuate, please do so by moving to high ground or as far inland as you can, preferably without using your car. Practice evacuating with your whānau.

Stay in your safe area and listen to the radio for information. Do not return to your home unless the official ‘All-Clear’ message has been given. A tsunami is a series of waves, and the danger may take several hours to pass.

Only return to your home if it is safe to do so. Remember your home or neighbourhood may have been damaged.