Tsunami Warning Lines Planned for South Coast

5 November 2013

Blue tsunami lines are planned for the south coast – and residents can help to decide where they should be painted.

Blue tsunami safe zone lines.

Tsunami safe zones in Island Bay


Residents in the Lyall Bay, Kilbirnie and Rongotai areas are invited to a public presentation tomorrow night at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie at 7.30pm.

The presentation, by the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) and GNS Science, will cover the risk of a tsunami to Wellington’s south coast and outline plans for blue tsunami safe zone signs in the area.

WREMO Manager of Community Resilience Dan Neely says people will also find out what to do in the event of a tsunami, and be able to join a working group made up of locals to help WREMO roll out the project in the Lyall Bay, Kilbirnie and Rongotai suburbs.

"The blue lines will show the minimum height above sea level and/or distance from the sea to which people must go to stay clear of a tsunami wave.”

Staff from GNS Science will also be on hand to present information and answer questions.

Dr Graham Leonard, a natural hazard scientist at GNS, says because of Wellington’s position on the boundary between two tectonic plates, Wellington has in the past experienced tsunamis and could do so again at any time.

“There’s a likelihood a big quake could occur under the sea in Cook Strait or nearby – and if a tsunami has been generated, it could hit our coast and harbour in only a matter of minutes.

“If the recent earthquakes off the Seddon coast were of a higher magnitude, there could have been the potential of a local tsunami. Thankfully that didn’t happen.”

Dan Neely says the presentations aim to help people better understand tsunami risk and show people the best escape routes in their neighbourhoods. Residents will also be able to discuss what other signs could be installed.

Wellington’s first blue tsunami lines were painted on streets in Island Bay in February 2010 and have since received significant international interest.

WREMO and GNS say Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay and Rongotai are similar low-lying suburbs and residents in those areas need to think about how they would, to use the old phrase, head for the hills.

“People need to think how they’re going to organise themselves and their neighbours to get to safe ground in a calm and coordinated manner on foot or by bicycle, and not leaping into your car and creating traffic jams and chaos,” says Dan.

For more information, phone (04) 499 4444 or visit:
Emergency Management - Tsunami
Wellington Region Emergency Management Office - Facebook