Preparing for a natural disaster

Although natural disasters are rare, it’s best to be prepared. Here are a few things you can do.

1. Talk to your family at home

Decide how you will get information to them. This could be by:

  • phone
  • email
  • text
  • contacting your embassy.

In some circumstances, your usual means of communication might not be available, so have a back-up plan. Know where and how to contact your embassy.

Tell your family how to get information about you if there's an emergency. Their best places to start will be:

If they don't speak English, tell them to contact your embassy in New Zealand.

2. Talk to your friends in Wellington

Decide on a place to meet—this could be the local church, civil defence centre or your home. Have a plan for who’ll try to contact whom.

3. Create a personal emergency kit

Think about what you might need in an emergency. This could include:

  • medication
  • canned food
  • water
  • warm clothes
  • emergency contact numbers
  • a basic first aid kit
  • radio
  • torch.

Store your kit somewhere safe in your house.

4. Know your emergency response

Remember to stay calm.


  • a fire—leave the building quickly and calmly. Don’t take the elevator
  • an earthquake—stay inside the building. Take shelter under a table or drop, cover and hold
  • a tsunami—move quickly to higher ground. Don’t return until you’re told it’s safe to do so.

Once you’re in a safe place:

  • call for help if you’re injured (dial 111)
  • let someone know you’re okay
  • let the University know you’re safe—if no one answers the phone, leave a message
  • listen to the radio to find out what to do next.

More information about preparing for a disaster in New Zealand.