Back to top


There are no volcanoes in Hawke's Bay, but the area has been affected by over 20,000 years of volcanic activity, mainly in the form of ash falls due to the North Islands high density of active volcanoes and a high frequency of eruptions. The Hawke's Bay region is particularly vulnerable to volcanic ash due to prevailing winds from the south and west.

There will typically be significant warning prior to any volcanic activity. GNS Science monitor volcanic activity, ashfall risks and set alert levels. GNS will notify relevant agencies whenever the alert level changes, and what warnings and information need to go out to communities. The Geonet website will keep you up-to-date and notify you if GNS issue a new bulletin.

You can do many things to protect yourself and your family from the dangers a volcanic eruption can cause. Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, what to do when it happens and what to do after the event.

Before a volcanic event

Get Ready - When you put together your household emergency supplies consider adding a dust mask, and cleaning supplies; broom, shovel, vacuum cleaner with spare bags and filters, and heavy-duty plastic bags, to dispose of ash. See more on household emergency supplies and grab bags in this section. 

If an eruption is imminent - Bring all vehicles inside or under cover, make sure your pets and livestock are moved to a closed shelter, and check on those in your community who may require special assistance and then stay inside.

During a volcanic event

Put your household emergency plan into place – go to your place of shelter, prepare your home for potential ash fall, stay indoors then listen to the radio or check online to keep up to date with information. Follow any additional information and advice coming from official sources.

If you are outside – If you are caught outside at the time of an eruption/ash fall, seek shelter in a car or a building. If caught in volcanic ashfalls, wear a dust mask, or use a cloth to cover your nose and mouth, and cover any exposed skin. If you must go outside use protective gear, such as masks and goggles and keep as much of your skin covered as possible; wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses.

Once indoors - close all windows and doors in your home, and cover gaps under doors to stop ash entering inside. Do not use heat pumps or air conditioners to keep ash from getting inside. Stay indoors as volcanic ash falls as ash is a health risk.

After a volcanic event

After an event - Continue to follow official safety advice. Avoid driving as ash falls will reduce visibility and make roads slippery and unsafe to drive on. Disconnect drainpipes/downspouts from gutters to stop drains clogging. If you use a rainwater collection system for your water supply, disconnect your tank.

When it is safe to go outside - safely clear roofs of ash fall, using protective gear, don’t remove ash by using water. Ash is very heavy and can cause buildings to collapse, especially if made wet. Keep children and animals indoors until ash is cleaned up.

Hawke's Bay Emergency Management - Copyright © 2024 Hawke's Bay Emergency Management

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Emergency Management to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Emergency Management shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Emergency Management cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Emergency Management - / /