Landslides can happen without warning — often triggered by heavy rain, earthquakes and, in some cases, human activity. Find out what to do before, during and after a landslide.

Get ready before a landslide

Get your household ready. Work out what supplies you might need and make a plan together.

Find out from your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group if there have been landslides in your area before and where they might occur again

Know the warning signs so you can act quickly if you see them. Regularly inspect your property for:

  • small slips, rock falls and subsidence at the bottom of slopes;
  • sticking doors and window frames;
  • gaps where frames are not fitting properly; 
  • outside fixtures such as steps, decks, and verandas moving or tilting away from the rest of the house;
  • new cracks or bulges on the ground, road, footpath, retaining walls and other hard surfaces; and
  • tilting trees, retaining walls or fences.

Be alert when driving, especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.

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The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has information on finding your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

What to do during a landslide or if you think a landslide is about to happen

Get out of the path of the landslide quickly.

Evacuate if your home or the building you are in is in danger — take your getaway bag and pets with you if you can do so quickly.

Warn neighbours and help others if you can.

Contact emergency services and your local council.

What to do after a landslide

Stay alert for future landslides.

Stay away from affected sites until they have been properly inspected and authorities give the all clear.

Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

Re-plant damaged ground as soon as possible because erosion caused by the loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

  • A landslide is the movement of rock, soil and vegetation down a slope. Landslides can range in size from a single boulder in a rock fall to a very large avalanche of debris with huge quantities of rock and soil that spreads across many kilometres. Landslides are a serious geological hazard in many parts of New Zealand.

    Heavy rainfall or earthquakes can cause a landslide. Human activities, such as removal of trees and vegetation, steep roadside cuttings or leaking water pipes can also cause landslides. Be aware of the warning signs.

    New Zealand’s mountainous land, loose volcanic soil and frequent earthquake activity make landslides common in many parts of the country.

    It’s important to recognise the warning signs and act quickly.

Find out more about what you need to do before, during and after these hazards.