Emergencies can happen anywhere in New Zealand. Find out about different emergencies that have happened in your region.

Northland | Te Tai Tokerau

    • 1963 — although Northland is not considered a high-risk area for earthquakes, some damage did occur in two earthquakes of magnitudes 4.8 and 4.9 near Mangonui and Peria.
    • 1973 — heavy rain brought flooding to the Whangarei District, causing damage to properties and roads.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola struck most regions of the North Island, in particular Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Northland. Storm conditions resulted in flooding.
    • 1999 — extreme rainfall resulted in flooding in the Hokianga area. 270 people were evacuated.
    • 1981 — flooding occurred in Kerikeri, including the famous Old Stone Store.
    • 2003 — twenty houses were evacuated in Kaitaia after the river broke its banks.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale-force winds caused widespread flooding.
    • 2013 — strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads, and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1936 — a cyclone destroyed buildings, causing floods and sinking boats.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — Dargaville lost its water supply line when a bridge was swept away during Cyclone Bola.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale force winds caused widespread flooding, slips, wind damage and road closures.
    • 1960 — a series of one-metre-high waves swept into Port Whangārei as the result of the Chilean earthquake.
    • Northland has two fields of young volcanoes. Te Puke was active 1800–1300 years ago.

Auckland | Tāmaki-makau-rau

    • 1891 — the Port Waikato earthquake (magnitude 6.0) toppled chimneys in Auckland.
    • 1999 — contamination from flooded sewers in Pukekohe remained a problem for several weeks.
    • 2001 — flooding in Leigh uprooted trees and killed livestock. One family was shocked when a car was swept inside their house.
    • 1936 — a cyclone destroyed buildings, causing floods and sinking boats.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — one of the most notorious storms in recent history, Cyclone Bola caused extensive flooding and extremely high winds.
    • 2011 — tornados struck northern parts of Auckland.
    • 2013 — strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • Over the last 150 years, the coast has been hit by 12 tsunami up to two metres high.
    • In the last 150,000 years, several of Auckland’s 49 volcanoes have erupted.
    • Rangitoto last erupted 600 years ago.

Waikato

    • 1891 — the Port Waikato earthquake (magnitude 6.0) broke windows, rung bells and threw school-children off their chairs.
    • 1922 — a swarm of earthquakes, described as “an almost continuous throbbing”, occurred under Lake Taupō, the strongest of them reaching magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale.
    • 1964 — about 400 quakes rattled Taupō, the strongest of them was about magnitude 4.5 on the Richter scale.
    • 2002 — heavy rain and strong winds, known as a weather bomb, destroyed buildings and camping grounds in the Coromandel and South Waikato.
    • 2004 — intense rainfall and gale force winds in February caused flooding to many areas in New Zealand, leaving hundreds of people homeless, farmland covered in silt, sheep and cattle drowned or swept away, bridges damaged and roads closed.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale force winds caused widespread flooding.
    • 1846 — a massive landslide on the shores of Lake Taupō overwhelmed Te Rapa.
    • 1914 — part of the crater wall on White Island collapsed, causing a landslide in the sulphur mines.
    • 1936 — a cyclone destroyed buildings, causing flooding and sinking boats.
    • 1939 — the worst snowstorm in 100 years killed livestock, blocked roads and halted trains.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused much storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola, one of the most notorious cyclones of recent history, battered the North Island.
    • 1996 — Cyclone Fergus brought torrential rain, flooding out thousands of campers and holiday-makers.
    • 1997 — during Cyclone Drena, only a fortnight after Fergus, waves washed over the top of a seawall and flooded houses in Thames.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale force winds caused widespread flooding, slips, wind damage and road closures.
    • 2013 — strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1960 — a tsunami from a huge earthquake in Chile resulted in the evacuation of Whitianga and Waihi.
    • 26,500 years ago, Taupō erupted in possibly the world’s largest eruption in modern history.
    • 1,800 years ago Lake Taupō erupted, filling all the major river valleys of the central North Island with pumice and ash. This eruption was reported by the Chinese and Romans.

Bay of Plenty | Te Moana-a-Toi

    • 1987 — roads were split open, a railway engine was toppled onto its side, and houses shifted off their foundations during the magnitude 6.3 Edgecumbe earthquake.
    • 2004 — intense rainfall and gale force winds in February caused flooding to many areas of New Zealand, leaving hundreds of people homeless, farmland covered in silt, sheep and cattle drowned or swept away, bridges damaged and roads closed.
    • 2005 — over 150 homes were made uninhabitable by floods in the Bay of Plenty.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale force winds caused widespread flooding.
    • 2004 — heavy rain resulted in floods and landslides in the Whakatāne and Ōpōtiki districts.
    • 1936 — a cyclone destroyed buildings, causing flooding and sinking boats.
    • 1939 — the worst snowstorm in 100 years killed livestock, blocked roads and halted trains.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused much storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola, one of the most notorious cyclones of recent history, battered the North Island.
    • 2007 — torrential rain and gale force winds cause widespread flooding, slips, wind damage and road closures.
    • 2013 — strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1960 — a tsunami from a huge earthquake in Chile resulted in the evacuation of Whakatāne, Ohope and Ōpōtiki. 
    • White Island has had continuous activity over the last 150,000 years.
    • 140,000 years ago an eruption caused the ground to collapse, forming a huge basin which forms present-day Lake Rotorua.
    • Mount Edgecumbe was last active 3,500–5,500 years ago.
    • 1886 — Mount Tarawera erupted, killing over 150 people and destroying the famous Pink and White Terraces.
    • 1914 — an eruption on White Island killed ten miners.

Gisborne | Te Tai Rāwhiti

    • 1914 — a magnitude 6.8 quake shook the East Cape, causing large landslides.
    • 1966 — a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck Gisborne. Over 3,000 chimneys were damaged, and the Main Post Office was so badly cracked that it had to be later demolished.
    • 2007 — a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck Gisborne, causing large amounts of damage to property.
    • 2005 — all roads in and out of Gisborne were blocked by floods and slips, and crops were destroyed.
    • 1914 — a magnitude 6.8 quake shook the East Cape, causing large landslides.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola ripped off roofs, downed trees and caused major slips. Six people died.
    • 2005 — all roads in and out of Gisborne were blocked by floods and slips, and crops were destroyed.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused much storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola ripped off roofs, downed trees and caused major slips. Six people died.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1868 — a tsunami from an earthquake in Chile took 15 hours to reach New Zealand, building to a height of 8 metres.
    • 1947 — two tsunami up to 10 metres high within a few months, caused by seafloor movements in Poverty Bay, destroyed houses, bridges and roads in the Gisborne region.
    • 1960 — a huge earthquake in Chile sent a 5.5 metre tsunami. Many Gisborne residents unwisely flocked to the shore to watch it and were lucky that the low tide lessened the tsunami’s effects.
    • 1995 — an eruption of Mount Ruapehu caused ash to fall across the region. Ash fallout caused major disruption in the Gisborne region.

Hawke's Bay | Te Matau-a-Māui

    • 1931 — a magnitude 7.8 quake struck Napier, killing 256 people and destroying the city and nearby Hastings.
    • 1932 — the Wairoa earthquake, magnitude 6.9, damaged buildings and toppled the Wairoa River bridge.
    • 1897 — floodwater flowed through Taradale, Clive and Napier. Two boats rescuing people on a bridge were overturned and 10 people drowned.
    • 1938 — a flash flood killed 21 workers at a camp in Kopuawhara.
    • 2004 — intense rainfall and gale force winds in February caused flooding to many areas of New Zealand, leaving hundreds of people homeless, farmland covered in silt, sheep and cattle drowned or swept away, bridges damaged and roads closed.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle caused much storm damage throughout the country.
    • 1988 — Cyclone Bola ripped off roofs, downed trees and caused major slips. Six people died.
    • 2001 — a severe rainstorm caused millions of dollars of damage to buildings in Napier and Hastings.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1938 — during the Esk Valley Floods, thousands of acres of farmland were ruined, bridges were swept away and communications cut.
    • 1868 — a tsunami from an earthquake in Chile took15 hours to reach New Zealand, building to a height of 8 metres.
    • 1960 — a footbridge and a gas-line were damaged at the Ahuriri Basin by a 3-metre tsunami from the Chilean earthquake.
    • Although there are no volcanoes in Hawke's Bay, the area has been affected by ash falls, including from Mount Ruapehu in 1945, 1975, 1995 and 1996, and Mount Tongariro in 1896.

Taranaki

    • 1974 — a magnitude 6.0 earthquake at Opunake cracked chimneys and walls, and many shops in New Plymouth and Hawera reported goods thrown from shelves.
    • 1971 — the main shopping area of New Plymouth is evacuated as floodwaters cover the city.
    • 2004 — a tornado at Motonui destroyed a house, killing two people.
    • 2007 — seven tornados hit the region during an electrical storm, damaging many houses and businesses.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and binging down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1755 — the last known eruption of Mount Taranaki. The mountain was still smoking when Captain James Cook sighted it in 1769.

Manawatu–Wanganui | Manawatū–Whanganui

    • 1843 — during the magnitude 7.5 Whanganui earthquake, a large part of Shakespeare Cliff broke away, and buildings were destroyed.
    • 1897 — a magnitude 7.0 quake in Whanganui resulted in damaged crockery, levelled chimneys, cut water supplies, cracks in the ground and damaged railway tracks
    • 1934 — a magnitude 7.6 quake damaged buildings and destroyed chimneys in and around Pahiatua.
    • 1990 — Cyclone Hilda caused the Whanganui River to flood and 96 homes were evacuated.
    • 2004 — floods left hundreds of people homeless, farmland covered in silt, sheep and cattle stock drowned or swept away, bridges damaged and roads closed.
    • 1936 — a cyclone destroyed buildings and derailed trains.
    • 2004 — intense rainfall and gale force winds in February caused flooding to many areas of New Zealand, leaving hundreds of people homeless, farmland covered in silt, sheep and cattle drowned or swept away, bridges damaged and roads closed.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • Since 1839, Mount Ngaurahoe has erupted over 60 times, the last eruption was in 1975.
    • 1953 — a lahar from Mount Ruapehu destroyed a rail bridge at Tangiwai. 51 people were killed when a train plunged into the river.
    • 1995 — black showers of ash from Mount Ruapehu disrupted air and ground traffic and brought the ski season to an early end.
    • 2007 — the dam on the crater lake of Mount Ruapehu collapsed, generating a lahar which created a standing wave of about 3–4 metres in height as it passed down the Whangaehu River. The alarm system was activated, and there were no injuries.

Wellington | Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara

    • 1848 — a magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused serious damage to buildings in Wellington and killed three people
    • 1855 — originating in the Wairarapa, the biggest earthquake in New Zealand’s modern history (magnitude 8.1-8.2) rearranged the whole Wellington coastline. Brick buildings in Wellington and the Wairarapa were destroyed and roads leading out of Wellington were blocked. Five people were killed.
    • 1942 — two earthquakes (one magnitude 7.2 and one 7.0) struck the Wairarapa only weeks apart, causing major damage to buildings, including 20,000 fallen chimneys in the Wellington region.
    • 1840 — a flood on the Hutt River resulted in settlers moving their new town from Petone to Wellington.
    • 1858 — the Hutt River became a raging torrent, carrying away houses and killing nine people.
    • 1976 — flooding in the Hutt Valley and Wellington destroyed houses, caused slips and blocked roads, causing $30 million in damage.
    • 1998 — heavy rain swelled rivers on the Kāpiti Coast, sweeping one man to his death.
    • 2002 — the worst flooding in 50 years hit the Wairarapa.
    • 2003 — heavy rain caused a mud slide to destroy a motel and flooded shops and homes in Kapiti.
    • 2004 — 500 people in Lower Hutt were evacuated due to floodwaters.
    • 2015 — flooding occurred in Petone.
    • 2003 — heavy rain caused a mud slide to destroy a motel and flooded shops and homes in Kāpiti.
    • 1936 — a cyclone sunk many boats. The inter-island ferry Rangatira ran onto rocks in Wellington Harbour.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle ripped off roofs and toppled trees, causing 54 deaths, including 51 on board the inter-island ferry Wahine when it sunk in Wellington Harbour.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1855 — a 10-metre tsunami was triggered by fault movement in Cook Strait during the Wairarapa earthquake.

Tasman | Te Tai-o-Aorere

    • 1929 — the magnitude 7.8 Murchison earthquake damaged buildings, including the tower and dormitories of Nelson College.
    • 1990 — forty-five people were evacuated and one person killed during flooding in Nelson/Tasman.
    • 1929 — the magnitude 7.8 Murchison earthquake damaged buildings and caused massive landslides
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle, during which the Wahine sunk in Wellington Harbour, caused much storm damage in other parts of the country.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1855 — a tsunami was caused by the Wairarapa earthquake.

Nelson | Whakatū

    • 1893 — the magnitude 6.9 Nelson earthquake cracked ceilings and crockery. The spire of Nelson Cathedral was nearly a metre out of vertical after the quake.
    • 1929 — the magnitude 7.8 Murchison earthquake damaged buildings, including the tower and dormitories of Nelson College.
    • 1990 — forty-five people were evacuated and one person killed during flooding in Nelson/Tasman.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle, during which the Wahine sunk in Wellington Harbour, caused much storm damage in other parts of the country.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1855 — a tsunami was caused by the Wairarapa earthquake.

Marlborough | Te Tauihu-o-te-waka

    • 1848 — a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Marlborough moved the ground by as much as seven metres.
    • 1966 — a magnitude 6.1 earthquake damaged nearly every house in Seddon.
    • 1938 — at Te Pukatea Bay three houses were wrecked by floods. Boulders, some estimated at up to 30 tons each, covered the area where they stood.
    • 2004 — parts of Picton and Waikawa Bay were flooded after heavy rainfall, and a civil defence emergency was declared due to the threat of a possible dam burst.
    • 1968 — Cyclone Giselle, during which the Wahine sunk in Wellington Harbour, caused much storm damage in other parts of the country.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1855 — a tsunami was caused by the Wairarapa earthquake.

West Coast | Te Tai Poutini

    • 1929 — the magnitude 7.8 Murchison earthquake left 17 dead. Some settlements were cut off for up to two weeks.
    • 1968 — a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Inangahua Junction, causing landslides, blocked roads, buckled railway lines and cut communications. Two people died. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated by helicopter.
    • 1935 — an 18-metre long span of the Kaniere Bridge over the Hokitika River was swept away and floated out to sea, causing a menace to shipping.
    • 1994 — a new record of 682mm of rain in 24 hours was set at Colliers Creek, causing slips and flooding.
    • 1998 — rivers burst their banks in the Karamea area, flooding homes and properties, and forcing evacuations.
    • 2013 — a huge storm caused a major landslide at Haast.
    • 2003 — a tornado in Greymouth damaged twenty businesses in an industrial area.
    • 2005 — a tornado damaged the port area of Greymouth, and resulted in the evacuation of a retirement home.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1912 — a campsite near the sea was flooded by a 1.5 metre tsunami near Westport.

Canterbury | Waitaha

    • 1888 — a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in North Canterbury knocked the top off the spire of Christchurch Cathedral.
    • 1901 — Cheviot was badly damaged in a magnitude 7.3 quake, and a baby was killed in the collapse of a sod hut. Christchurch had many broken windows, cracked stonework and toppled chimneys.
    • 1929 — during a magnitude 7.3 earthquake at Arthur’s Pass, 60 million cubic metres of rock broke off Falling Mountain.
    • 2010 — Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake caused huge amounts of damage to housing and the commercial centre of Christchurch. No lives were lost.
    • 2011 — a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck 10 km south-east of central Christchurch at a depth of only 5 km. With a death toll of 185, it is New Zealand’s worst natural disaster in terms of loss of life since 1931.
    • 2016 — On Monday 14th November, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake at a depth of 15km occurred 15km north-east of Culverden.
    • 1945 — South Canterbury. Flooding causes over $485,000 worth of damage, especially in Christchurch and Akaroa.
    • 1986 — Flooding results in $60 million worth of damage in Canterbury and Northern Otago.
    • The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes cause massive landslides in many parts of Canterbury
    • 2016 — It has been estimated that between 80,000 to 100,000 landslides were triggered by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Kaikōura.
    • 1975 — a nor’wester windstorm blows roofs off buildings and flattens over 6,000 hectares of trees.
    • 2000 — the Lyttelton boat marina is destroyed in southerly storm.
    • 2002 — a severe snowstorm closes roads, schools and airports. Some roofs in Ashburton collapse under the weight of the snow, and there are many vehicle accidents.
    • 2006 — a large snowstorm delivers record snow depths to some parts of Canterbury, causing extended power cuts, collapsed roofs and closed roads. Many motorists are stranded in the snow.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, very heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The very strong winds caused lots of damage, blew vehicles off roads, and brought down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1960 — the Chilean earthquake causes a 5.5 metre tsunami in Lyttelton, which pours over the walls of the dry-dock.
    • 1998 — a massive tsunami that hit Papau New Guinea causes an 0.3-metre rise in water level at Lyttelton, Sumner and Timaru.

Otago | Ōtākou

    • 1974 — a magnitude 4.9 earthquake in Dunedin caused cracked chimneys, fallen plaster and broken household goods.
    • 1979 — the Taieri Plains, including Dunedin airport, were covered in floodwaters.
    • 1986 — Northern Otago and Canterbury floods caused $60 million damage.
    • 1999 — the main shopping areas of Queenstown and Wanaka were under water during flooding in Central Otago.
    • 1979 — the largest landslip to occur in an urban area of New Zealand caused 600 people to be evacuated from Abbotsford, Dunedin.
    • 1863 — in February, a great storm swept across much of the country, wrecking 12 ships — including the Star of Tasmania and Water Nymph at Ōamaru — and causing flash floods. More than 40 lives were lost.
    • 1978 — storm and flood damage resulted in a state of emergency being declared.
    • 1993 — storms generated in the Southern Ocean caused severe weather conditions.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1877 — 3.7 metre waves occurred in Port Chalmers.

Southland | Murihiku

    • 2003 — an earthquake in Fiordland (magnitude 7.1) lifted the seabed by 45cms and triggered more than 200 landslides.
    • 2004 — a magnitude 7.2 quake struck 240 kilometres south-west of Te Anau. Had it occurred under or near a population centre, there would have been major damage.
    • 1984 — 4,000 people were evacuated from their homes during flooding in Southland.
    • 1994 — roads and bridges were washed out in the Fiordland/Southern Lakes districts.
    • 1999 — the worst flooding in 100 years occurred in Central Otago and Southland.
    • 1978 — storm and flood damage resulted in a state of emergency being declared.
    • 1993 — storms generated in the Southern Ocean caused severe weather conditions.
    • 2013 — Strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed New Zealand. The winds caused lots of damage, blowing vehicles off roads and bringing down power lines, cutting the power supply to thousands of homes.
    • 1820 — a 10-metre local tsunami killed several hundred people at Orepuki.
    • 1998 — a 0.15-metre tsunami in Foveaux Strait from Antarctica reminded people that tsunami can come from the south as well as the Pacific.

Chatham Islands

  • 1985 — a vicious storm on the Chatham Islands destroyed the Royal Albatross nesting habitat.

    • 1868 — a 6-metre-high tsunami from Chile washed into the huts of a Māori village on the north-west coast of the main island. People rushed to higher ground before the much higher second wave arrived 10 minutes later. The entire village, and several other houses, huts and boats, were totally destroyed and one person drowned.
    • 1924 — 6-metre waves from Chile pounded the Chatham Islands.
    • 1960 — a tsunami from a huge earthquake in Chile affected the whole Pacific, including a 3–4m wave on the Chatham Islands.