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Scientists say practise and record your tsunami hīkoi

Scientists and researchers are encouraging Napier communities to help improve tsunami evacuation planning in their area by practising their tsunami hīkoi and recording their routes and times on a free app.

The results will be added to computer-based tsunami evacuation models of Westshore, Ahuriri, Pandora, Napier South, Maraenui, Te Awa and Marewa, which were developed by scientists from GNS Science to simulate the movement of people who have self-evacuated on foot, following a long or strong earthquake that causes a large tsunami.

Dr William Power, a tsunami modeller at GNS Science, said the additional data would be used to increase the models’ realism.

“This information is really valuable as it means we can provide more realistic models that Civil Defence Emergency Management can later use for planning purposes,” said Dr Power.

People can download the free ‘Open GPX Tracker’ app for Apple devices or ’‘Open GPS tracker’ app for Android devices, record their tsunami hīkoi to their safe location and email their route data to

East Coast LAB project leader Kate Boersen also encouraged people to practise their tsunami evacuation routes as part of tsunami hīkoi week, which runs from 11 to 17 March.

“Tsunami hīkoi week is great chance for people to familiarise themselves with the evacuation route they’re planning to take and identify and potential obstacles or hazards along the way,” Ms Boersen said.

“Walking the route you would take in an actual event is one of the best ways to prepare for a tsunami, as well as learning the natural warning signs of a tsunami: a long or strong earthquake.”

This research is part of the two-year ‘Quicker Safer Tsunami Evacuations’ project funded by the Natural Hazard Research Platform. It involves researchers and scientists from GNS Science, Massey University, East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) and the University of Canterbury.

East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) is a collaborative programme that brings together scientists, emergency managers and other experts from across the East Coast to makes it easy and exciting to learn more about natural hazards and how they affect us.


• Tsunami hīkoi data collection instructions are available here

• Tsunami evacuation maps for Hawke's Bay are available on the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management group website and a simplified version of the Napier tsunami evacuation zones is available here.


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