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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

Planning for a rupture of New Zealand’s largest fault, the Hikurangi subduction zone, has kicked into motion with scientists certain it’s a case of when, not if.

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 are working together to develop the Hikurangi Earthquake and Tsunami Planning Toolbox. The toolbox is split into two volumes:

  • Volume 1: Describes the credible magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami planning scenario, and the risk posed by the Hikurangi subduction zone.
  • Volume 2: A planning toolbox, designed to help inform regional response planning for a large Hikurangi event.
  • Annex: A regional response concept paper, specific to the five participating CDEM Groups, including Group-specific information to help with their initial response to a large Hikurangi event.



Stakeholder Feedback has commenced on Volume I and II of the HRP Toolbox


Click here to give feedback 

Submissions close 20 April 2020



The toolbox has communities at its heart, and is being been 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, Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington. 

The toolbox is based on a credible magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami scenario. This scenario is being used as a planning tool to identify the consequences of a large Hikurangi subduction zone earthquake and tsunami on the North Island east coast.

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, and we want this project to be a collaborative effort. We are all responsible for ourselves and our families – we are all part of Civil Defence in New Zealand. For information on how to prepare for an earthquake or tsunami, visit


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





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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