On a world scale, New Zealand’s exposure to tsunami hazards is considered high. Learn what to do before, during and after a tsunami to minimise risk to you and your family.

For general preparedness, every household should create and practice a Household Emergency Plan and assemble and maintain Emergency Survival Items and a Getaway Kit. In addition, every household should take tsunami specific precautions and plan for and practice what to do if a tsunami occurs.

Action messages

  1. If you are at the coast move quickly to higher ground, or if the surrounding area is flat, as far inland as possible.
  2. Determine your risk.
  3. Prepare members of your household.
  4. Learn and practice evacuation routes.
  5. Actively protect your home.
  6. Stay informed and follow instructions.
  7. Climb to higher ground.
  8. Take care of yourself and help others.
  9. Watch for hazards.

Download our hazard app to help you make it safely through a disaster.

More information on how to prepare for and what to do if there is a tsunami:

tsunami (PDF)

More about tsunamis

A tsunami can occur at any season of the year and at any time, day or night. On the open ocean tsunami waves are small and barely noticeable but when the waves enter shallow water they will rise in height. Some tsunamis cause loss of life and property damage. Others can be small but still dangerous to those near or in the coastal water.

It is important to remember that not all earthquakes will generate a tsunami, and that earthquakes are not the only sign of an impending tsunami. It is critical to know what to do as a precaution if you are in a vulnerable area.

  • Learn whether tsunami have previously occurred in your area by contacting your local council or visiting the GNS Science website.
  • Find out about tsunami risk in your area.
  • Check the flooding elevation for your house.