Tsunami Strategy - Eastern Coromandel

Whitianga's Tsunami Risk Management Plan was presented to the Mercury Bay Community Board on 19 June 2012. Read down to find out more.

New tsunami recommendations:

The finished Whitianga Tsunami Risk Management Plan provides a roadmap for risk management actions – initially over a period of three years.

Download a copy of the full plan here. (PDF 208Kb)

The Whitianga Plan was the pilot project, and first off the blocks because Whitianga is the most at-risk part of the Peninsula, because the shape of its bay would make the effect of a tsunami worse.

Plans for other communities are being developed based on this successful pilot programme.

The primary actions to be undertaken from this first plan include:

Warnings: upgrading the siren system to provide better coverage of the town, and support options for warning such as local telephone trees and neighbourhood support groups

Evacuation: moving the official Southern evacuation point to the forestry road, and investigating the options for improving evacuation road access to State Highway 25

Public education and awareness: formalisation of an on-going programme to target the school, visitors and residents

Land-use planning: investigation of long-term options for ensuring vertical evacuation sites at the school and the CBD, and development of policies that will restrict development and redevelopment of critical facilities in the future.


Implementation will involve the collaboration of Council, Mercury Bay Community Board, the Emergency Services Committee and community members. It is anticipated that the working party will continue in some form to oversee implementation, and progress will be reported back to the Community Board at regular intervals from the 2012/13 financial year onwards. 


Background information:

The Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Strategy

The devastating earthquake which struck Japan in 2011 was a graphic example of the threat posed by tsunamis generated just offshore. It came as latest research had told us new information about the risk of such a big tsunami hitting Whitianga as a result of a major earthquake in the Tonga-Kermadec trench to the north east of New Zealand.

The research indicates the frequency of such tsunami is higher than previously understood and Whitianga is particularly vulnerable to their impacts.

TCDC and Waikato Regional Council have developed an Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Strategy, starting off looking at Whitianga because the unique geography of Mercury Bay can magnify the effects of tsunami.

New information has shown the risk to Whitianga is higher than previously thought, particularly from a big earthquake in the Tonga-Kermadec trench.

About tsunami

Download a poster about Tsunami here. (PDF 3MB)

Download three of the big planning posters (PDF 5MB) that were displayed at the June 2011 Tsunami Open Days held at the Whitianga Town Hall. These show examples of what Whitianga could look like in the future and why land use planning is needed.