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Hikurangi Response Planning (HRP)

Planning for a large Hikurangi subduction zone earthquake and tsunami

Project Period: July 2018 - June 2020

Project Funders: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Organisations: Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu/Wanganui & Wellington Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management & East Coast LAB

Project Location: North Island's East Coast

HRP ToolboxThe Hikurangi Response Planning Toolbox

We know the Hikurangi subduction zone can produce large earthquakes and tsunamis, and that these events have occurred in the past. This knowledge, combined with current research suggesting there is a greater likelihood of a rupture following the Kaikoura/Hurunui earthquake in 2016, and increased pressure building on the fault is the driving force behind this project. 

Emergency managers, scientists, and key stakeholders have worked collaboratively to develop the Hikurangi Response Planning Toolbox. The toolbox is split into two volumes and can be downloaded here.

Inside the toolbox you will find:

  • Volume 1 'Risk Toolbox': Information about the hazard, likelihood, vulnerability and consequences (essentially a risk assessment).
  • Volume 2 'Planning Toolbox': Regional response planning considerations for emergency managers, readiness recommendations and key messages/resources for community engagement about the subduction zone.
  • Annex A: A series of  'Regional Response Concept Papers', developed for five CDEM Groups. These papers include likely regional impacts, Controller's Intent, Group response objectives and priorities, regional response phases and an initial action plan for Groups to use either as a starting point for regional response planning. Note sensitive information has been redacted from this Annex.

The toolbox is based on a credible magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami scenario. This scenario has used as a planning tool to identify the consequences of a large Hikurangi subduction zone earthquake and tsunami on the North Island's east coast. It was developed for the five Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups likely to be the first and most impacted by a future event on the subduction zone - Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti (Gisborne), Hawke's Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and Wellington. 

Scenario-based planning is a common approach used by emergency planners when response planning. It is important to note however that the magnitude 8.9 scenario, whilst scientifically credible, is one of many possibilities- scientists cannot predict when or how any real event will occur.

Communities are at the centre of all response planning. We are all responsible for ourselves and our families – we are all part of Civil Defence in New Zealand. 


What's your plan?

Visit for information on how to prepare for an earthquake or tsunami.

Check out the video below to learn more about the credible scenario being used and what you can do to prepare for a large Hikurangi event:



Learn about the science



Scientific reports 

The GNS Science credible scenario report can be found here.

The GNS Science aftershock study relating to the credible scenario can be found here


Further information

Got a question? Check out the Hikurangi Response Plan FAQs

For further information, please contact the Project Leader, Natasha Goldring - 

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