Civil Defence - Information


Local Event Updates

Waikato Region Event Updates 


What is Civil Defence?

Civil Defence is not one thing. It is communities, organisations and government working together to get ready and get through an emergency. We are all Civil Defence.

Civil Defence professionals are here to coordinate the emergency services, welfare service agencies, utility companies and the community during an emergency. But because you are Civil Defence too, you need to make sure you can take care of yourself and people you care about when there is an emergency.



Floods are New Zealand's number on hazard in terms of frequency, losses and declared civil defense emergencies.

Of all emergencies declared since 1963, over 70% have been flood-related.

Every afternoon, MetService publishes a Severe Weather Outlook for all of New Zealand for the upcoming three days. This can be found here.


Major storms affect wide areas and can be accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain or snowfall, thunder, lightning, tornadoes and rough seas. They can cause damage to property and infrastructure, affect crops and livestock, disrupt essential services, and cause coastal inundation.


Earthquakes happen every day in New Zealand. Instruments record the ground shaking from over 20,000 earthquakes in and around the country each year. Most are too small to be noticed, but between 200 and 300 are big enough to be felt. On a world scale, seismicity (earthquake activity) in New Zealand varies from moderate to very high. In the past couple of decades, we have seen that damaging quakes can occur almost anywhere in New Zealand.

If an earthquake occurs, drop to the floor, take cover under a stury piece of furniture, and hold on to that leg of the furniture.


Landslides are a serious geological hazard throughout much of New Zealand. 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 can be spread across many kilometres.


If a disaster happened now, would you be ready?

Due to its location and environment, New Zealand faces many potential disasters. In some cases, such as a weather related or volcanic disaster, there may be time for a warning. But an earthquake or a tsunami close to land could strike without warning.  All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives. So it's vital that you prepare now. This website will show you how to get ready, so you'll get through.

Get Ready

1. Learn about disasters and how to keep safe


2. Create and practice a household emergency plan

Household plan

3. Assemble and maintain emergency survival items

Survival items

4. Have a getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry

Getaway kit


Civil Defence Centres

In a civil defence emergency, Ōtorohanga’s response is coordinated from the Civil Defence Centre at the Council Office in Maniapoto Street, Ōtorohanga. 

The Council building has a standby generator to ensure that power disruptions do not hinder the response effort and also has communications equipment, which provides alternate forms of communication in case any telecommunications network is disrupted or overloaded.

A minimum of two exercises a year are held at the Centre to ensure that our staff are ready to respond to any emergency if required.

A Civil Defence Centre has also been set up at Kāwhia (either at the Kāwhia School or Kāwhia Sports Club) to respond to any emergency that will impact on the Kāwhia and Aotea Communities.

Community Response Plans

Helpful Links 

Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency:

Civil Defence:

Ōtorohanga District Council Facebook

Weather Updates: MetService -

Road Closures: NZTA -

School Closures: Ministry of Education - or contact your local school

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management -