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Minister to open tsunami evacuation area

Minister to open tsunami evacuation area

Minister of Civil Defence Hon Kris Faafoi will tomorrow open a new purpose-built tsunami high ground evacuation area in Papamoa, and observe the community’s evacuation “rehearsal”.

The artificial high ground in Gordon Spratt Reserve is accessed via two new earthquake-strengthened footbridges, and can be rapidly reached by students from Papamoa Primary School.

“This will allow people to gather safely above the highest predicted level of tsunami inundation,” Mr Faafoi says. “I am pleased to hear that the need was identified by the community who are preparing themselves for an emergency, and that council have seen the benefit and progressed this high ground. Timely evacuation for school children and others with low mobility is vital in an emergency, and to have both community and council get prepared is really outstanding.”

The mound has capacity for approximately 3,800 people and is built to withstand the shaking and liquefaction effects of an earthquake. It will be opened by Mr Faafoi at the Never Happens? Happens community event hosted by Tauranga City Council.

“The work Tauranga City Council have been doing over the past six years to keep the Tauranga community safe in the event of a tsunami has substantially reduced the risk to tens of thousands of people. Tauranga now has a network of tsunami evacuation routes and safe locations, along with clearly marked evacuation maps and signs.

“I am hoping to see many people do a trial run of the Gordon Spratt High ground as an opportunity to practise their tsunami evacuation route. Planning and practising tsunami evacuation routes means you can act quickly when you need to.”

The ground is the first purpose built high ground reserve in the Southern hemisphere, and is the first of four planned tsunami evacuation areas in Tauranga.

Remember: Long or Strong, Get Gone. If you are at the coast and experience any of the following:
• Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more,
• See a sudden rise or fall in sea level,
• Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea,
Move immediately to the nearest high ground, or as far inland as you can.

Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups provide tsunami zone maps and regional advice. Make sure you know where to go, whether you are at home, at work or out and about. A list of Tsunami zone maps is available at

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