A family has evacuated and is standing on a hill behind a house with a grab and go bag. They are looking at a house half under flood water

Ngā waipuke Floods

Floods are the most frequently occurring natural hazard in the Wellington region.

Know your flood risk

  • To reduce the impacts of river flooding in your area, and find out what the river flood risks are by visiting the Greater Wellington Regional Council's Flood Hazards Map.
  • Review your insurance regularly. Having insurance cover for your home and contents will help you get back on your feet if you suffer damage in a flood.
  • If you live in an area at risk of flooding - make a grab bag for if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • If you have a disability or any requirements that may put you at greater risk in a flood visit Getready.govt.nz and follow the advice for people with disabilities.
  • There are four types of flooding. Read more about these below.

Get prepared for floods


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  • Find out from your local council if your home or business is at risk from flooding, and how they will alert you if you need to evacuate. 
  • Check Greater Wellington Regional Council's Flood Map to see if you are in an area prone to river flooding. 
  • Create a plan for if access to your house is cut off, or you need to evacuate due to flooding. Ensure you have a grab bag ready to go and a plan for your pets and/or livestock. 
  • Make a household plan for the safest evacuation routes you could take. All members of the household should know where to evacuate to, what routes to take if you need to leave, and where to meet each other afterwards. 
  • Clear leaves and debris from external drains to help prevent surface flooding. 
  • If flooding is expected - move your valuables/furniture as high above the floor as possible. Use watertight containers to store important items.
  • Lift curtains, rugs and bedding off the floor. 
  • Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors. 
  • If flooding is expected, consider using sandbags to keep water away from your home. 
  • Where possible, move livestock to higher ground.


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  • Stay out of flood water - never try to walk, swim, or drive through flood water. Many flood deaths are caused by people driving through water, or people playing in flood water.
  • Evacuate if you feel unsafe - do not wait for an official warning. Follow your emergency plan, take your pets and grab bag. 
  • Listen to the radio and follow instructions of emergency services.
  • Always assume that flood water is contaminated with farm run-off, chemicals, and sewage. Contaminated flood water can make you sick. Make sure you wash your hands, clothes, and property after contact with flood waters. 
  • Turn off water, electricity and gas if advised. 
  • Check on your neighbours and anyone who may need your help. 


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  • If you have evacuated, you should only return home once officials advise it is safe to do so. It may not be safe even when flood waters have receded. 
  • Look before you step - the ground may be slippery or covered with debris including broken glass. Stay away from damaged areas. 
  • Help others if you can. 
  • If your property is damaged, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and contents insurance company. 
  • Once home, throw away any food, including canned goods, or drinking water that has come into contact with flood water as it may be contaminated. Avoid drinking or preparing food with flood water until you are certain it is not contaminated. 
  • Follow any boil water notice instructions from Te Whatu Ora or Emergency Management.
  • Clean up carefully and take care around remaining flood water - you may need to wear protective gear such as gloves, sturdy footwear and protective clothing that covers your arms and legs. 
  • Take photos, for your insurer, of any items you throw away. 

There are 4 main types of flooding:

Flooded stream water overflowing onto grass and at the foot of trees that line the stream

Rising Rivers

Rising Rivers are caused by heavy rain which can cause rivers to overflow their banks onto the floodplain (the flat section next to a river). 

Find out if you live or work near a river at risk of flooding 

South Wairarapa flooded rural road

Flash floods

Flash floods are caused when heavy rain falls in a small area with little warning. 

waves are overtopping a seawall in wellington and water is covering the footpath

Coastal areas

Coastal areas can flood because of unusually high tides, swells, or tsunami. 

Flooded domain

Urban flooding

Urban areas can flood when the rain falls faster than the storm water system can manage, or when storm water drains become blocked. These floods usually happen quickly and can block roads and damage buildings. 

You can find out more about this on the Wellington Water website

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