NZ Civil Defence maintains warning for Tsunami

Written by on October 8, 2009


National Advisory Tsunami Potential Threat to NZ

No: 05

Action: Refer to fax or email.

CDEM Manager/Contingency Manager
Date: 08/10/2009
CDEM Groups/Local Authorities/NZ Fire Service, NZ Police/Other Agencies
Time: 15:35 hours
MCDEM Regional Emergency Management Advisors 
Director, Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM)

Tsunami advisory in effect:
There is a potential threat of a tsunami impacting on New Zealand coastlines.
This tsunami advisory will remain in effect until either the advisory is upgraded to a warning or a cancellation message is issued by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management.

Earthquake parameters:
Vanuatu Islands
Time and date:
11:03 NZDT
NZ time:
11:03 NZDT 08/10/2009
13.0 South 166.3 East
33 km
The above magnitude is provisional and may be adjusted as more seismic data becomes available.

Analysis of threat:

The Potential Threat Advisory remains in effect and represents the official status for New Zealand.  This is in spite of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre cancelling the warning for New Zealand. 

The first waves are now arriving and will be very small however it is expected that in most areas the largest waves will not arrive until many hours after the first arrivals.  The threat assessment for New Zealand remains as previously indicated; these waves will not be destructive but have the potential to create strong currents. Our advice remains for people on the West Coast from North Cape to Hokitika and on the East Coast from North Cape to Auckland to use extreme caution on beaches and stay out of the water as well as refrain from boating activities. For other areas people should be vigilant around coastal areas. 

Areas that are particularly prone to late arriving waves are the West Coast of the South Island between Hokitika and Karamea, and the Northland region of the North Island. Strong currents may not have peaked before 8pm.

CDEM Groups and agencies may use their own discretion whether to remain in activation mode.  Should they stand down we strongly advise that the public message at the local level remains in line with the above advice.

MCDEM will continue its potential threat advisories until the threat has passed.


Estimated wave arrival times and wave heights:
If a tsunami wave was generated, the time of arrival of the first wave to impact on New Zealand coastal area(s) is estimated to be at:  14:34 NZDT at Northcape.
Estimations of initial wave arrival times to New Zealand coastal areas and estimated wave heights are provided in the table below.

Note: Historical records have shown that arrival times may be 60 minutes earlier or later than estimated,and that the first wave may not be the largest. Waves may manifest in a series of waves that can be dangerous for several hours.

Estimated Wave Arrival Time Estimated Wave Height
Chatham Islands-Kaingaroa No information No information
Chatham Islands-Waitangi No information No information
North Cape 14.34 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Whangarei No information No information
Auckland West

Auckland East

15.33 08/10/09 NZDT

16.14 08/10/09 NZDT

No information
Mt Maunganui No information No information
East Cape 15.16 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Gisborne 15.49 08/10/09 NZDT No information
New Plymouth 16.10 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Napier 16.29 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Wanganui No information No information
Wellington 16.39 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Nelson No information No information
Marlborough Sounds No information No information
Westport 16.50 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Greymouth No information No information
Lyttelton No information No information
Timaru No information No information
Milford Sound 16.35 08/10/09 NZDT No information
Dunedin No information No information
Bluff No information No information
Stewart Island No information No information

Evaluation background:
This analysis is based on New Zealand scientific advice and takes account of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) watch/warnings.

NCMC status: The National Crisis Management Centre is activated.

Contact details:
General enquiries
(04) 494 6900
Media enquiries
(04) 494 6951
Satellite phone
00881 621 465 606
HF radio call sign

Next steps:
Subsequent information or a cancellation message will follow this Advisory via the National Warning System.

Issued by:
Message authorised by the National Controller, Civil Defence Emergency Management.

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