New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is taking place Thursday 28 October 2021 at 9:30am.

Taking part is a great way for schools, early childhood centres, kura and kohanga to learn the right actions to take before, during and after an earthquake and tsunami.

Get ready

Leading up to ShakeOut, here are some things your school can do to get ready for an emergency. 

  • Identify safe places to Drop, Cover and Hold such as under a sturdy piece of furniture and practise the Drop, Cover and Hold drill with your staff and students.
  • Check to see if your school is in a tsunami evacuation zone and make plans for a tsunami hīkoi if you are in a coastal area.
  • Practise your tsunami hīkoi with your students so everyone knows where to go.
  • Check your school or early childhood centre has an emergency plan.
  • Encourage students to help make a grab bag or emergency kit at home.
  • Use our What's the Plan Stan? resource to teach kids about different disasters and the right actions to take.
  • Use our resources for primary schoolskura kaupapa and early childhood centres to help teach students about emergency preparedness and the natural hazards we have in New Zealand.
  • Read the Ministry of Education’s information and resources on preparing for and reacting to emergencies and traumatic events.

Sign up for ShakeOut

Sign up to take part in New Zealand ShakeOut 2020 2021 and you're in to win one of five large Civil Defence wheelie bins.

Sign up
 A classroom doing Drop, Cover and Hold

Doing the drill

ShakeOut is a self-run drill. You can start it in whatever way works for you. You could use a bell, whistle or alarm, play the New Zealand ShakeOut Announcement over your PA system, shout “EARTHQUAKE DRILL” or tune in to our Facebook livestream.

Drop, Cover and Hold  for 30–60 seconds:

  • DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.
  • COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you). If there is no shelter nearby, cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it.

While you are doing the drill, take note of what might be happening around you in a real earthquake. Think about what you might need to do to prepare for a real earthquake.

 Megaphone icon

This New Zealand ShakeOut audio announcement can be used to facilitate your Drop Cover and Hold earthquake drill. Play it through a speaker or PA so everyone knows the correct action to take.

shakeout-drill-day-audio-en-jul19.mp3 mp3 1.9 MB

After the drill

After your drill is complete:

  • Talk with students about what you learned.
  • Make changes to your school or early childhood centre's emergency plan.
  • Encourage students to make a Household Emergency Plan with adults at home.
  • Share your ShakeOut photos, videos and stories on social media.
Get Ready to ShakeOut

Say thanks to kids for participating in New Zealand ShakeOut by giving them our New Zealand ShakeOut 2021 certificate.

ShakeOut-2021-Blank-Certificate-of-Participation.pdf pdf 140 KB
ShakeOut-2021-Generic-Certificate-of-Participation.pdf pdf 184 KB

Share the ShakeOut

It’s important that everyone knows what to do on drill day. You never know who’s going to be around in an emergency. 


Get Ready to ShakeOut

Teach students about earthquakes with this ShakeOut 2021 earthquake lesson plan.
Students will learn about what happens in an earthquake, what causes earthquakes, past events in New Zealand, earthquakes in Māori tradition, and what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

shakeout-earthquake-lesson-plan-info-en-jul20.pdf pdf 596 KB
Get Ready to ShakeOut

Download and print our Kids as Teachers Challenge so kids can be the teachers at home and show their whānau how to get prepared. There are eight challenges for kids to complete with an adult.

shakeout-kids-challenge-activ-en-may21.pdf pdf 3.4 MB
Drop, Cover, Hold

Download and share this factsheet in English on what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

drop-cover-earthquake-happens-fact-en-dec16.pdf pdf 2 MB
Drop, Cover and Hold in Te Reo Māori

Download and share this factsheet in Te Reo Māori on what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

drop-cover-earthquake-happens-fact-mi-jan17.pdf pdf 117 KB
If an earthquake is Long or Strong, Get Gone

Download and share this helpful factsheet in English about what to do before, during and after a tsunami.

long-strong-earthquake-fact-en-dec16.pdf pdf 1.9 MB
If an earthquake is  Long or Strong, Get Gone in Te Reo Māori

Download and share this helpful factsheet in English and Te Reo Māori about what to do before, during and after a tsunami.

long-strong-earthquake-fact-mi-jan17.pdf pdf 104 KB

Learn more about earthquakes through our In an emergency section and through What's the Plan Stan?.

Learn more about tsunami through our In an emergency section and through What's the Plan Stan?.

Find information about school responsibilities and how to teach students the knowledge and skills they need to be more prepared for an emergency.

wtps stan 127x127 pictogram

What’s the Plan, Stan? is a free resource to support schools, teachers and students to develop the knowledge and skills to prepare for emergency events.

 Drop, Cover and Hold

Drop, Cover and Hold is the right action to take in an earthquake. It stops you being knocked over, makes you a smaller target for falling and flying objects and protects your head, neck and vital organs. Watch this short video to find out more about Drop Cover and Hold.

For a local source tsunami, which could arrive in minutes, there won’t be time for an official warning. It is important to recognise the natural warning signs and act quickly. Remember, Long or Strong, Get Gone.

Turtle Safe is an educational DVD developed specifically to teach preschool children what to do if they are inside or outdoors when an earthquake occurs.

turtle-audio-en-jan11.mp3 mp3 451 KB
wtps-turtle-safe-lyrics-med-peri-en-may11.pdf pdf 510 KB
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