Survey shows Kiwis better prepared for disasters

  • Nathan Guy
Civil Defence

New Zealanders have never been better prepared for disasters according to the latest annual disaster preparedness survey, but it’s important to stay prepared.

Minister of Civil Defence Nathan Guy says levels of household preparedness for disasters have risen sharply since the Kaikoura earthquake last year, followed by a string of other emergencies such as the Port Hills fires and the Edgecumbe flooding.

“Current levels of preparedness are on par with the previous highest on record, which was following the Canterbury earthquakes,” says Mr Guy.

The results are the findings of the Colmar Brunton disaster preparedness survey for 2017, which has been released by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. The annual survey of 1000 New Zealanders assesses disaster preparedness and the effectiveness of our public education programme.

“We’ve seen measures of preparedness rise significantly, which means households have never been better prepared for disasters than they are now.”

While the results are encouraging, Mr Guy says making sure you’re prepared needs to be an everyday part of life.

“We don’t want people to wait until it’s too late before they take action.  After the Canterbury earthquakes, we saw a sharp boost in preparedness, only to see it slide when complacency crept in.”

Mr Guy says the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management revitalised its public education programme last year to make preparation real, relevant and easy.  The Never Happens? Happens campaign involves videos starring Hunt for the Wilderpeople actress Rachel House, and has sub-campaigns targeting everyday families and 18-30 year olds.

The survey also suggests the Ministry’s recent tsunami and earthquake safety campaign – which emphasises the messages “Long or Strong, Get Gone” and “Drop Cover Hold” - has been effective in reinforcing the right actions to take in the event of an earthquake.

The survey shows that 83% of respondents know that they needed to evacuate when a long or strong earthquake happens near the coast.

“One of the biggest risks from a natural event is a local source tsunami, and this campaign has the potential to save lives.”

“Getting prepared is easier than you might think. The single most important thing is to make a plan, which only takes a few minutes for you and your household.”

The survey report is available at

To make a plan and find out more about getting prepared, visit