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Tsunami evacuation zone maps

Use these maps to plan your own evacuation route. Each map reflects our best knowledge for that area at the time of publication. The evacuation maps are based on a 14m tsunami.

More information about the Tsunami Maps

Tsunami Evacuation Zones: Mount MaunganuiTsunami Evacution Zones: Bayfair

Tsunami Evacuation Zones: PapamoaTsunami Evacuation Maps: Wairakei (Papamoa East)

Matua Evacuation Zones

Welcome Bay

Three things you need to know to survive a tsunami

  1. When to evacuate: the first tsunami warning is an earthquake.
  2. Where to evacuate: inland to a tsunami-safe location or to high ground. 
  3. How to evacuate: on foot, and make sure you help your neighbours.

What do the maps show?

Tsunami safe zone (green areas) 
The green zone is safe from a tsunami because it is sufficiently high or inland. Some safe locations are on high ground within the yellow evacuation zone. Safe locations are identified with a safe location icon.

Red evacuation zone 
Every tsunami will affect this part of the coastline. You should always evacuate this area if there is any sort of tsunami warning, whether that warning comes from unofficial sources (like text messages or social media), official warnings, or natural warning signs.

Orange evacuation zone
In a formal Civil Defence evacuation you may be asked to move from the orange zone into the yellow zone. Tsunami from regional or distant sources (further away than 1000km) could take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours to arrive. You won’t feel an earthquake for this type of tsunami so this is where things like warning systems, text alerts, emails, TV/radio and social media are really important.

Yellow evacuation zone
The worst case tsunami, similar to the big one that hit Japan in 2011, is predicted to flood the yellow zone. There is a very low chance this will happen in our lifetime but if it does happen there will be no time for official warnings. After a major earthquake it would take about 50 minutes for this tsunami to reach the coast, plus maybe another 30 minutes to flood the yellow zone. The further into the yellow zone you get, the shallower and slower moving the water will be. If you plan ahead and evacuate as soon as you can after that first earthquake you have a very good chance of surviving this devastating tsunami.

What is Tauranga City Council doing about tsunami evacuation planning?

Tauranga City Council’s tsunami planning has been informed by leading tsunami research. What have we learned about tsunami in our region?

  • We know where a worst-case tsunami is predicted to go, how deep it will be and how fast it will get there. 
  • We know that there will be crippling traffic jams as people try to get away from the tsunami. Evacuation by foot is best.
  • We know that even from Papamoa it is possible to reach safe areas on foot before the tsunami floodwater reaches you, so long as you don’t wait too long after the initial earthquake.

This knowledge has enabled us to develop an evacuation strategy and start building evacuation infrastructure to make sure that you can get to safety as easily as possible. The first evacuation maps were published in 2014 so that the community can plan their evacuation. In 2016 we installed evacuation signs. New structures that have been built include earthquake-proof bridges to get people over the Papamoa open drain and Wairakei Stream, and a purpose-built vertical evacuation safe location on Gordon Spratt Reserve. This is the first of four such structures that are planned and budgeted for.

Tsunami infrastructure Gordon Spratt Reserve A1 poster (3mb pdf)
Tsunami no time for official warnings A1 poster (486kb pdf)

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Last Reviewed: 10/03/2017