Conference paper
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Tsunami awareness in New Zealand has evolved over the last 50 years since the 1960 Chilean tsunami, which struck New Zealand without official warning and caused significant damage, despite occurring at low tide. From 1960 to 2004 various measures were put in place, such as becoming part of the Pacific Tsunami Warning System, which led to improvements in official warning mechanisms. However, surveys in 2003 showed that public understanding of tsunami risk and correct warning-response action was limited. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami the New Zealand government initiated an extensive review of national tsunami hazard, risk and preparedness. This review ranked tsunami risk to property potentially on par with that of earthquake and risk to life an order of magnitude greater. The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) subsequently developed guidance for tsunami signage, development of evacuation zones, and dissemination of warnings. GNS Science has also produced guidance on how to incorporate tsunami modelling into land use planning. These initiatives represent significant steps forward in our preparedness for future tsunami, but there is a considerable way to go to ensure adequate awareness and preparedness of individuals and communities.

Publication Details
Source title:
Proceedings of the 12th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2014