Getting familiar with natural warning signs

File photo.

Tauranga’s coastal environment holds cultural, economic, and social significance to many citizens and contributes significantly to the character and amenity of our city.  

However, being located near active fault lines and comprising low lying areas, tsunamis pose a particular threat to the subtropical paradise that many of us call home. 

This summer, Tauranga City Council, alongside six student ambassadors, will be out in the community helping to educate and inform about tsunami preparedness.  

Local tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes or disturbances near the coast and are ranked the number one natural risk for Tauranga. They can arrive in less than 50 minutes, so it is important that members of our community feel well informed and know what to do. 

“We are encouraging the public to become familiar with the natural warning signs of a tsunami,” says Tauranga City Council’s Emergency Management and Civil Defence Manager, Paula Naude.  

“There may not be time to issue official warnings or evacuation notices if the tsunami source is local.  

“Know and practice your evacuation routes and alternate evacuation route in the event your primary route is no longer available due to an unfolding disaster.” 

You can self-evacuate as soon as you notice any signs. They include:  

  • A long or strong earthquake,
  • A rise or fall in the ocean,
  • A loud roar from the ocean.

Tsunami evacuation zone maps are available on our website to help you determine the nearest safe zone for your home, workplace or frequently visited areas. 

Having a getaway pack stored in an easily accessible location at your home and work helps ensure you have everything you need if in an emergency.

If you need to evacuate an unfamiliar area, follow the tsunami evacuation route signs to reach the nearest safe zone.

The quickest mode of transport in the event of a tsunami is on foot, and you will be able to reach a safe zone near you within 40 minutes.  

Resources from and can help you be prepared. 

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