The countdown is on for the Long Walk Home, with less than one month to go until Wellingtonians put on their walking shoes and head from Wellington City to Porirua.
The event organised by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO), aims to raise awareness of the realities of getting home after a large earthquake in the region.
After a large earthquake, modelling shows roads and rail links are likely to be damaged for a week or longer. If the earthquake happened during working hours, up to 80,000 commuters would be making their way home on foot.
We saw something similar happen in 2013, when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck near Seddon on a Friday afternoon.
After the earthquake, Wellington commuters found themselves stuck, unable to get home via their normal mode of transport. Airport and train lines were closed for inspection, with no bus replacements available for some time.
The 2013 earthquake fortunately didn’t cause road, rail and infrastructure damage. In the big one, this would be different.
The Long Walk Home is a challenge for our region’s residents and an opportunity for team building along the way.
WREMO Community Resilience and Recovery Manager Dan Neely is excited to bring the Long Walk Home back to the region for the first time since COVID-19.
“We last ran the Long Walk Home in 2019 to the Hutt Valley. That was nearly five years ago, so we are excited to be bring it back with a different route to Porirua,” Neely says.
“So far, we have had 200 people sign up, from a range of workplaces which is encouraging to see.”
Neely says for workplaces that get involved and support their staff, they will be contributing to their own business continuity, as well as playing a key role in building our region’s resilience.
“Well-prepared staff, who can get home safely, are in a much stronger position to return to work once they have checked on their families.”
The walk will take place at 1pm, on Friday 1st of March 2024 from Sky Stadium. It will finish with a barbeque around 7pm in Ngāti Toa Domain, Mana, Porirua.
The walk is a total distance of 30 kilometres and participants can walk as far as they are comfortable. There are multiple checkpoints along the route where people can decide to stop if they are close to home or choose not to complete the whole route.
To find out more about the Long Walk Home, view the route and register, go to wremo.nz/longwalkhome.