ShakeOut - We're Ready - How About You?

11 September 2012

At 9.26am on Wednesday 26 September, political leaders around the Wellington region will be ducking for cover - and more than 1 million other New Zealanders will be doing the same.

The occasion will be the country's first nationwide earthquake drill, called New Zealand ShakeOut.

More than 133,000 people in the Wellington region have so far signed up to practise 'drop, cover, hold' - that includes about 220 schools and 73,500 pupils - and the region's mayors and other political leaders are urging the community to join them.

So far the Wellington region leads the country in terms of participation - but only just. Figures today from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management show 27.6% of the region's population has signed up.

Gisborne, on 25.9%, is next in a tightly-packed field followed closely by Manawatu, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.

Kapiti Coast District Mayor Jenny Rowan and Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown say they will both be heading under their desks at 9.26am.

Mayor Rowan - who chairs the Wellington Region Civil Defence Group - says she knows all of her political colleagues will 'drop, cover and hold' and she hopes as many other people - young and old - in the community will also join in.

"It'll be fun - but, of course, it's backed by a serious message - that people have to protect themselves from falling objects during a quake."

Mayor Wade-Brown adds that ShakeOut also aims to raise general awareness among New Zealanders about the need to be prepared for emergency. "An earthquake could happen at any time and now is the time for friends, family and workmates to discuss what they need to do to be prepared. I'm ready to drop, cover and hold!"

To take part in New Zealand ShakeOut, register online at - and get your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to sign up as well. 

People should also check out the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) page on Facebook for more useful information.

Over the next two weeks, staff from the emergency management office will be popping up at schools, childcare centres, malls and other sites to further raise awareness about ShakeOut and encourage people to sign up.

Bruce Pepperell, the Manager of WREMO, says radio advertisements and other forms of communications will be used to get the message out over the next couple of weeks.

The Ministry of Civil Defence says more than 1 million New Zealanders have already registered to join New Zealand ShakeOut on 26 September. Bruce says Wellington Region Civil Defence staff are keen to ensure their status as the 'number 1' region in the country and urge everyone from Wairarapa and Kapiti to central Wellington to register online and participate


At 9.26am on 26 September, we want all people of the region to be part of New Zealand Shakeout, to practise what you would do in a real earthquake:

Drop to the ground

Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table

Hold on to it until the shaking stops.

  • If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to go outside.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines, then drop, cover and hold. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Drive carefully and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are within a tsunami zone on the coast, then you should move inland or to high ground as soon as possible.