Reviewed tsunami risk for Christchurch

30 September 2013


Reviewed tsunami risk for Christchurch


A report reviewing the tsunami hazard in New Zealand released today by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management reinforces the need for the public to understand and be prepared to respond to the threat of a tsunami.

Review of Tsunami Hazard in New Zealand (2013) updates research published in 2005 and shows that the estimated maximum possible size of some local and regional tsunami is bigger than previously understood, though tsunami are no more likely.

For Canterbury however, the updated modelling recognises that the maximum tsunami height for our coastline is, on the whole, less than previously thought.

“This latest review of tsunami hazard has the majority of Canterbury with the same or a decrease to the estimated wave height,” says Neville Reilly, Regional Civil Defence Group Controller. “There are a couple of exceptions though, where the maximum height may be larger than previous estimates.”

One is the north coast of Banks Peninsula, including Lyttleton Harbour, and one is the coast immediately south of the peninsula.

However, the message of ‘Get ready, get through’ stays the same.

“Just because the latest scientific modelling shows a wave’s height may come through lower than previously thought, it does not mean people should get complacent.  It is still vitally important everyone is prepared and is aware of what to do.

“People must know that if they are at the coast and feel a strong earthquake where it is hard to stand up, or a weak earthquake that lasts for a minute or more, then they need to get to high ground or go inland; do not wait for an official warning.”

A large tsunami generated very close to New Zealand would arrive before any official warning could be issued or sirens activated.

For more information contact:

Environment Canterbury media desk, phone 027 221 5259 or email


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