Annual test of Emergency Mobile Alert system cancelled

The annual nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system has been cancelled. The test was scheduled to occur between 6 and 7 pm on Sunday 22 November 2020. 

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, and the potential for confusion, we have decided not to proceed with the test. 

The annual test of Emergency Mobile Alert allows us to evaluate the system, cell towers, and the ability for mobile phones to receive the alert. The test also helps to familiarise the public with what an Emergency Mobile Alert looks like and how their phone presents the message. 

As the Emergency Mobile Alert system has been used a number of times this year for local and national emergencies, including nationwide alerts for the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe the test is not necessary this year. 

The results from last year’s nationwide test showed that more than two-thirds of New Zealanders received the test alert. 

Emergency Mobile Alert

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones. The alerts are designed to keep people safe and are broadcast to all capable phones from targeted cell towers.

The alerts are targeted to areas affected by serious hazards and will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health or property, and, in some cases, for test purposes.

Emergency Mobile Alert Feedback

Give us feedback about Emergency Mobile Alert. Information collected in this survey is used to make ongoing improvements to the alerting platform, which is used to keep people in New Zealand safe.

Give feedback
ema general 656x369px image en oct19

How to get Emergency Mobile Alert

To get Emergency Mobile Alerts you need a phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. The phone also needs to have cell reception and up-to-date software. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service.

  1. Check if your phone is on the list of capable phones.
  2. Update your phone’s operating system software.

Please refer to your phone manual or talk to your mobile operator if you need help updating your phone.

We expect half of New Zealand's phones will be able to receive the alerts. We expect this number to rise over time.

Can I opt out of Emergency Mobile Alert?

As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping you safe, you won’t be able to opt out of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts.

We do not target specific phones, instead we broadcast to a targeted area that is at risk. For this reason, we are unable to exclude your specific phone.

Your phone may show optional settings used in other countries, but in New Zealand we will use a special broadcast channel that is permanently on.

EMA 520x350 thumbnail

Read the Decision for Emergency Mobile Alert to remain a non-opt-out channel for more information.

ema-decision-statement-en-jul18.pdf pdf 316 KB

Past use of Emergency Mobile Alert

See when Emergency Mobile Alert has been used in New Zealand since it launched in 2017.

More information and resources

FAQ 172x172 pictogram

We’ve compiled helpful answers to frequently asked questions about Emergency Mobile Alert.

EMA NZSL 300x237 thumb Jul19

This NZSL video gives an overview of Emergency Mobile Alert.

EMA 520x350 thumbnail

The Director's Statement for Emergency Mobile Alert Device Standards defines desired mobile device standards for emergency alerting in New Zealand.

ema-director-statement-en-may18.pdf pdf 849 KB
EMA 520x350 thumbnail

Download this factsheet in English explaining the Emergency Mobile Alert system.

ema-mobile-alert-fact-en-feb20.pdf pdf 98 KB
EMA 520x350 thumbnail

Download this factsheet in Te Reo Māori explaining the Emergency Mobile Alert system.

ema-mobile-alert-fact-mi-feb20.pdf pdf 81 KB
EMA 520x350 thumbnail

Download our factsheet explaining the Emergency Mobile Alert system, available in 24 languages.