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Get ready - education

Disasters happen! The good news is it’s easy to make sure you and the people and things you care about, are ready, whether you are an education provider, a student, or a parent.

It is recommended that early childhood services and primary schools have at least three nominated people who may collect a child in an emergency, in case the usual person is unable to get to the school. High schools should have alternate contact details for all students.

As a parent, talk to your children how you would contact each other in an emergency, and the other possible people that could pick them up should you not be able to reach them.

Education providers are required to have a plan and be prepared to respond to emergencies. The Ministry of Education provides advice and resources to assist education providers to do this see who to contact below. Education providers should carry out regular drills to test their plans and ensure staff and children know what to do in an emergency. This particularly applies to hazards where there is little warning and no time for official information and instructions to be given. Procedures for fire, lockdown, earthquake, and tsunami (if you are in a tsunami zone) should all be scheduled drills.

Use this template to create a one-page plan to share with whānau.

We also recommend the Toolbox on working towards being tsunami safer, developed by the East Coast LAB and partners.

Preparing for and dealing with emergencies and traumatic incidents

Schools emergency plan guidance

Early childhood education emergency plan guidance

Advice, information and templates about preparing for and dealing with emergencies and traumatic incidents

For questions about your emergency plan, contact your local Ministry of Education Advisor at 

For advice about hazards and the potential impacts of an emergency, contact us at 

What's the Plan Stan a resource designed to help children feel confident, connected and actively involved in preparing for an emergency or disaster event. The resource provides a range of useful information and activities for teachers and children.

Kia Takatu is a te reo Māori resource for years 1 to 8, containing teaching material, templates and stories to teach children about emergencies.

Get Ready has general information about emergencies and how to prepare for them.

Te Hīkoi a Rūaumoko - Rūaumoko's Walk is a bi-lingual children’s book based on Kahungunu legends and dialect telling the story of what to do in an earthquake with a subsequent tsunami threat. It was developed by representatives from Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, Ministry of Education and Te Puni Kōkiri, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Te Ūranga Waka at the Eastern Institute of Technology, and Kahungunu Kōhanga Reo Tari.

The book is supported by a one-page education providers' emergency planning template and a whānau activity sheet in Te reo Māori and English.

Translated versions

Translated videos 

Te reo Māori version

English version

Samoan language version 

Tongan language version

Hindi version 

Chinese version 

The digital version of Te Hīkoi a Rūaumoko – Rūaumoko’s Walk, a bilingual children’s book based on Ngāti Kahungunu legends and language that tells the story of what to do in an earthquake and a later tsunami threat, includes animation, sound and pop-up boxes, to create an immersive storytelling experience that children will love.

The e-book is an evolvement of the original printed pukapuka, a bilingual picture book created from 2014 to 2016.

Te Hīkoi a Rūaumoko – Rūaumoko’s Walk digital version

Surviva is an exciting interactive online game where children can plan what their family would need in an emergency.

East coast LAB logoEast Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) is a project to help communities and scientists learn more about our earthquake, tsunami and volcanic hazards that are connected with the tectonic plate boundary running along the east coast of New Zealand.

East Coast LAB makes it easy and exciting to discover more about natural hazards and how they can affect us.



GNS Science studies earth science and natural hazards. The website has lots of information, videos and lesson plans under the ‘learning’ tab.

GeoNet is New Zealand's hazard monitoring body and provides information about geographical hazards as they happen (earthquakes, landslides, tsunami and volcanoes). It also allows feedback from the public on felt earthquakes through mobile apps and the GeoNet website, so if you feel an earthquake jump online and report what you felt.

An earthquake is when the ground shakes because rocks deep under the ground are moving. When a big earthquake happens there may be a loud rumbling noise and things can start falling down around you. It might also be hard to stand up. You have to act quickly and protect yourself from things that might fall on you. Remember how a turtle quickly gets into its shell to keep safe? Here’s what you can do.

  • Practice your earthquake drill: DROP, COVER and HOLD
  • If you are inside, quickly get under a table, and hold on to the table legs (if you can) so the table doesn't move away from you. Stay there until the shaking stops and you are told it is safe to come out by an adult.
  • If you are outside or there are no tables around, take no more than three steps away from things that can fall on you: DROP, COVER and HOLD.
  • Remember there may be aftershocks (more earthquakes).

    drop cover hold

A tsunami is a series of waves caused by large underwater earthquakes, volcanoes or landslides.  A tsunami wave can grow to become a fast moving wall of water.  If the tsunami is generated nearby, there is no time for an official warning, so you need to know what to do 

If you are at the coast and experience any of the following:

  • Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more 
  • See a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea.

Move immediately to the nearest high ground, or as far inland as you can. Walking or by bike or scooter in many cases is the best way to evacuate.

Wait until the official all clear has been given, as tsunami can go on for many hours.

Find out if you school or home is in a tsunami zone and have a look at where you think your safe location is.  Talk about this with your whānau and your teachers and practice walking your tsunami route.

HBRC CD Tsunami 750x301


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