Useful Information

Tsunami Warning sirens

Auckland's Siren Locations

Tsunami warning sirens are installed at the following locations:


  • Omaha
  • Point Wells
  • Whangateau
  • Waiwera
  • Orewa (coming soon)


  • Bethells
  • Te Henga
  • Piha (north and south)
  • Karekare
  • Huia
  • Little Huia
  • Whatipu
  • Te Atatu (north and south)
  • Herald Island




Tsunami Signals

The tsunami siren network is tested twice a year at the beginning and end of daylight saving. If you are in an area with a tsunami siren, you will hear the following signals during an actual tsunami threat. If you are in an evacuation zone be prepared to act even without a siren warning, as you will receive other alerts such as text alerts.

Alert signal (dash - dash - dot - dot) sounded for 15 minutes

This signal notifies residents that a tsunami threat has been received by Civil Defence.

Residents should respond by:

  • Evacuating beaches
  • Listening to the radio and TV for information
  • Preparing to evacuate their homes and businesses, if required.

Evacuate signal (dot - dot - dot) sounded in continuous burst for 15 minutes

The signal is used when a specific threat to the coastline has been confirmed.

Residents should respond by:

  • Evacuating immediately to the nearest high ground
  • Avoiding using personal transport (e.g. cars) unless absolutely essential, as this may cause congestion.

All clear signal (a continuous tone for five minutes)

The signal is used to notify that the threat of a tsunami has passed.

Residents should respond by:

  • Returning to their home or business, if not affected
  • Following the directions of the emergency services in affected areas.

Click here to find out what a tsunami siren sounds like.

Siren FAQs

Do the sirens cover all coastal areas?


No they don’t. The selected sites and coverage areas are designed for populated locations from sea level and up to 10m from sea level.

Will the sirens hurt my ears?


The sirens are designed to start at a low noise level and increase to full volume over the first four or five repetitions. This gives people in close proximity to a siren warning to cover their ears while moving away to a safe distance.

When will the sirens be used?


Initially, the system will only be activated to warn the public of any tsunami threat as may be notified to Civil Defence authorities by the National Warning System. The system has three tones to signal an alert only, evacuation required and all clear.

What do I DO if I hear a Tsunami siren?


  • Identify if it is an alert or evacuate signal
  • Evacuate all beaches immediately on hearing the alert or evacuate signal
  • Know where your essential documents and medicines are to take with you


What DON'T I do when I hear a Tsunami siren?


  • Panic when you hear the siren or get a text alert
  • Travel in your car unless you have to
  • Return until you have heard the all clear signal


Leave home only if in immediate danger or if you are officially advised to.

Stay inside (unless you are advised to evacuate) if there is a chemical or gas disaster or a storm. Listen to the radio or TV for information. If the power is off, your car radio will still work.

If you need to evacuate, secure your home as though you were going on holiday and turn off power, water, and gas. Ensure each adult in your household knows how to turn these off.

To indicate that you have successfully evacuated, put a piece of white paper in the window where it can be seen from the street.

Evacuate if there is:

  • Fire - get out and stay out
  • A large earthquake and you are near sea level on the coast, move to higher ground immediately as tsunami can come after earthquakes
  • Official advice to do so (if you have time, take your survival items and listen to your radio).

emergency mobile alert

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones. The alerts are designed to keep people safe and are broadcast to all capable phones from targeted cell towers.

The alerts can be targeted to areas affected by serious hazards and will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health or property, and, in some cases, for test purposes.

If you get an alert, read the message and take it seriously. It will tell you what the emergency is and what to do. It will also tell you which agency sent the message and if needed, where to go for more information.


How to get Emergency Mobile Alerts

To get Emergency Mobile Alerts you need a phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. The phone also needs to have cell reception and up-to-date software. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management 'Get Ready' website has a list of phones capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alert.

Emergency Mobile Alert capable phones


Other ways to stay informed

Emergency Mobile Alerts are managed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and are only one of many ways you can get information about emergencies.

Its important to know the different ways that you can stay informed during an emergency such as by listening to the Radio, following Auckland Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter, downloading the Red Cross Hazards app and getting to know your community and neighbors around you.

Frequently asked questions

Why do we test Emergency Mobile Alert?

The nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system is a necessary part of making sure the system works well. Find results and information about nationwide tests The nationwide test is sent to cell towers all over New Zealand by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM).

Approximately three million phones are capable of receiving the alert. In 2017 and 2018 MCDEM received thousands of feedback submissions from people that helped us evaluate and improve the Emergency Mobile Alert system. The last national test was held on the evening of 25 November 2018.

Can I opt out of Emergency Mobile Alert?

As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping you safe, you won’t be able to opt out of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. We do not target specific phones, instead we broadcast to a targeted area that is at risk. Your phone may show optional settings used in other countries, but in New Zealand we will use a special broadcast channel that is permanently on.

Who sends Emergency Mobile Alerts?

Only authorised emergency agencies can send Emergency Mobile Alerts. Alerts will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health or property. Scheduled test alerts may also be sent.

The only agencies currently authorised to issue alerts are:

  • New Zealand Police
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
  • Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups (Auckland Emergency Management).

The agency sending the Emergency Mobile Alert will be identified in the alert message.

Can my phone receive Emergency Mobile Alert?

To get Emergency Mobile Alerts you need a phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. The phone also needs to have cell reception and up-to-date software. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service. The MCDEM Get Ready website has a list of phones capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alert, which you can view in the link below:

Emergency Mobile Alert capable phones

Emergency Mobile Alert is not available on all phones, but over time MCDEM expect more phones to be Emergency Mobile Alert capable. MCDEM expect the number of Emergency Mobile Alert capable phones to increase over time, as they anticipate most new phones sold by New Zealand mobile network operators will be capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts.

When have Emergency Mobile Alerts been used in Auckland?

Emergency Mobile Alerts have been issued three times recently to targeted areas in Auckland.

The first of these was issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand on 7 October 2019 at 7.30pm to residents in Henderson following an ammonia leak at a factory.

The second and third alerts were issued during the recent International Convention Centre Fire in Auckland’s central city.

These alerts were issued to residents in the CBD on Tuesday 22 October at 6pm by Fire and Emergency New Zealand and on Wednesday 23 October at 3pm by Auckland Emergency Management.

How does the Emergency Mobile Alert work?

The Emergency Mobile Alert is sent out from targeted cell towers in a specific incident area where the incident is occurring. This is done so that the emergency message is sent to the specific area, and does not disturb those outside of the area of concern.

For example, the Emergency Mobile alert that was issued during the Convention Centre fire in Auckland Central on November 22 was targeted at the Central City, as those in Orewa or Pukekohe didn’t need to receive this message.

I was driving past but not directly into the affected area and received the alert. Why did I receive it?

When your mobile phone connects with a cell tower that is issuing an alert, you will also receive it. This means that even if you are not directly in the area but are instead passing by and your phone ‘pings’ the nearest cell tower, you may receive the alert that has been issued from that tower.

How long is the alert issued for?

At the time it is issued, the authorised agency can set the time period that the alert stays active for. This ensures those coming into and out of the incident area are aware of the emergency.

For example, if you travel into the incident area two hours after the emergency but the alert has been issued for six hours, you will receive it when you come into the area and connect with the targeted cell tower.

What does an Emergency Mobile Alert message look and sound like?

An Emergency Mobile Alert message will look similar to a text message. The Emergency Mobile Alert will show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert.

The alert is repetitive and loud. To hear an example of what it will sound like, watch the video in the link below:

Emergency Mobile Alert 2019 Nationwide Test Video

Will I be charged for an Emergency Mobile Alert message?

No. This service is free and does not count towards texting limits on your mobile plan.

If, during an emergency I can’t make or receive calls or text messages due to network congestion, will I still be able to receive these alerts?

Yes, you will still receive these alerts. Emergency Mobile Alert uses a dedicated signal, so it is not affected by network congestion.