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12:00am Tuesday 08th November 2022


On Monday 07 November 2022 Ashburton, Timaru and Waimate districts released their new tsunami evacuation zones. Those are areas that you may need to evacuate from, or stay out of, after a long or strong earthquake, or if there is an official tsunami advisory or warning in place.

The tsunami evacuation zones were revised based on new multiple scenario tsunami modelling for the Mid and South Canterbury coastline that Environment Canterbury commissioned the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) to complete. This is part of a programme of tsunami modelling for the whole Canterbury coast that provides us with a better understanding of possible tsunami impacts from a multitude of worst-case scenarios. Over the last few years tsunami evacuation zones were also updated in Selwyn, Christchurch, Waimakariri and southern parts of the Hurunui districts, with North Canterbury to follow next.

Our number one tsunami tip is to OWN YOUR ZONE!

  • Find out if you live, work, or spend time in the tsunami evacuation zones.
  • Learn about the natural warning signs – you need to leave the red and orange tsunami evacuation zones if you feel a long or strong earthquake – that’s shaking that either goes for more than a minute OR that is so strong it is hard to stand up. It’s possible the earthquake was out in the ocean and has created a tsunami that’s on its way. Do not wait for anyone to tell you what to do, there may not be time for an official warning.
  • Start your tsunami evacuation plan – that can be as easy as having a kōrero with your whānau, friends or neighbours about where will you and your family go if you have to evacuate, and how?

If a tsunami is coming from further away, say the Pacific Islands or from across the Pacific Ocean, we won’t feel the earthquake (or volcanic eruption) that caused it, but we will have much more time for an official warning. Civil Defence Emergency Management agencies will tell you which zone(s) need to be evacuated. In most cases this will just be the red zone, which covers beaches, harbours, estuaries, lagoons and river mouths – the areas most likely to be affected by a tsunami with its strong currents. If something larger is on the way, which may flood land, you may also need to evacuate the orange and yellow zones.

You can find out if you are in a tsunami evacuation zone on the Canterbury Maps webmap, and find out more information about tsunamis in Canterbury on our tsunami webpage and the Environment Canterbury website.  Check out your local district webpages below to find out how the tsunami evacuation zones have changed in each district. 

For other areas in New Zealand check out the national tsunami evacuation zone map.

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