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Tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely deadly.

You need to know

Know what to do

If you feel an earthquake that is either longer than a minute OR strong enough that it’s hard to stand up, then get to high ground, out of all zones (past the blue line if there is one), as soon as the shaking stops!

This evacuation advice overrides any COVID-19 Alert Level requirements to stay at home. Stay 2 metres away from others if you can and if it is safe to do so. Wear a mask or face covering only if you can grab one quickly and it will not delay you leaving.

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Don’t go down to the shore

  • The first wave to arrive may not be the largest
  • Waves may be separated by an hour or more 
  • Waves may keep coming for many hours 

Know where to go

Work out how you can get to the edge of the zone, get past the Blue Lines if you have them.
See the online tsunami evacuation zones map

You can also find a pdf map that can be printed off and kept as part of your emergency plan.

Know where your zones are for home, work, schools, sports grounds or other places where you may regularly be within the tsunami zone. 


Practise walking out of the zone, work out the best routes.  Make sure everyone in your home or workplace knows where they should go!

Know where to get information

Tsunamis may be generated elsewhere in New Zealand or elsewhere in the Pacific and we may not feel the earthquake. If there is a tsunami threat a national warning will be issued and WREMO will provide alerts and information on areas, if any, that need to be evacuated.
Find out more about alerting

In addition, information will be provided on our website, and our Facebook and Twitter sites. Media outlets (radio, TV and websites) will also provide information.
Find out more about how to keep up to date in an emergency

What to do if you get an emergency alert from WREMO

Follow the advice from the alert and make sure you are safe. Then make sure your friends and family are safe by sharing the information on social media or text. 

What is a tsunami

A tsunami is a series of sea waves or surges caused by a sudden event (such as earthquakes)  beneath, or near the ocean causing the water column to move and a tsunami ‘wave’ to form. Tsunami waves travel rapidly through oceans, but as they reach shallower coastal waters the waves slow and grow in height.  Onshore they may break, but more commonly cause a rapid rise in fast flowing water that can cause widespread damage, injuries and loss of life. 

Tsunami form a series of waves that can be spread over a 12 hour time period, with waves arriving up to an hour apart. Tsunami travel much further inland than ordinary coastal waves and may also cause strong currents and fast rising tides.



WREMO position statements on  

Find out more about tsunamis