How prepared are you? Capital's jolts a wake-up?

17:00, Jul 24 2013

Brent Robinson and his family got a taste of the earthquake in the capital first hand.

The Puhoi man and his wife Dee and their three children had just walked into his brother's house in Karori when it hit.

"It was reasonably long, around 20 seconds. At first there was a rumbling sound and the house started moving. The power went out immediately. My oldest son at first was saying it was cool, but then it got stronger. It became very strong and violent."

The home they were in was an older solid villa.

"There wasn't much damage done to the home," Mr Robinson says.

"Because they had a few shakes in the previous few days, my brother had his candles and radio out ready."


Mr Robinson says there were a number of tremors that followed.

"There was that question in the back of your head, was that the big one or just a tremor."

Central Wellington had a number of streets blocked off.

"When we drove to the airport the next day it was like a ghost town. But the airport was busy," Mr Robinson says.

"I grew up in Wairarapa. The biggest quake I had felt was when I just started work in my early 20s and I was in a four-storey building in Masterton. That quake was not as big as this one though, this was certainly the biggest I have felt.

"The experience gives you a small taste of what the feeling would have been like in Canterbury with that quake in 2011."

Mr Robinson says his family has an emergency kit at their home.

"We got one around four years ago after a big storm came through Puhoi and we had a fair bit of damage done to our place."

Civil Defence and Emergency Management acting director Bryan Cartelle says that while Auckland is in a low earthquake risk area, quakes can happen any time.

Wellington is a perfect example of this, he says.

"We can't stop disasters from happening but we can ensure that when one occurs we have thought ahead. Auckland is susceptible to a number of hazards but we can prepare our families to get through," Mr Cartelle says.

"Being prepared for an emergency can be as easy as sitting down with your family and finding out what you would all do in a crisis. Working out simple things such as how to meet up with your family after a disaster happens or retrieving your family pets if you were not near your home and a quake hit."

Start your emergency preparations by going to the Civil Defence website and watching videos available that show the hazards in and around Auckland, Mr Cartell says. From there you can find out how to prepare for an emergency in your home, school and at work.

Visit for more information and for straight to your phone updates subscribe to text alerts or the Auckland Civil Defence Smartphone app available at aucklandcouncil.govt. nz.

Thoughts on the street

How prepared are Aucklanders in the event of a natural disaster? Some are – sort of, a Rodney Times street survey discovered.

The Canterbury earthquakes spurred thousands of New Zealand households to improve preparedness.

But in Auckland there was no increase in the number of households with the three basic provisions, with preparedness remaining around 10 per cent.

Those households reported having enough stored emergency water and food for three days, and a household emergency plan.

Jan Thornton from Orewa says although her house isn't equipped with an earthquake survival kit, she has everything she'd need in an emergency.

"We've got water, food, radio, candles ... but it would be a mad scramble to find it all. We should have all of it in one place.

"It's all kept in the basement and the garage, which would probably be flattened if there was a quake."

Red Beach resident Alan Overfield doesn't have a natural disaster survival kit either, although he has considered buying one.

"I was just looking at them the other day and I thought I must get one. First Christchurch and now Wellington. It's getting closer."

Mr Overfield says a magnitude 3.9 earthquake in Auckland in March should have made him think twice but he never really considered it.

"It's very typical," he says.

"I had better go and get a survival kit up here before they all sell out!"

Ford Parata of Stanmore Bay says being the father of three girls has pushed his earthquake preparedness plans up the priority list.

"I don't have a survival kit. My best plan was to head for high ground.

"It's a bit freaky to think we could get hit on the coast."

Mr Parata says he has plenty of canned food at home, batteries and other items lying around which could probably make a kit.

Rebecca Galloway of Orewa is "totally prepared" for a natural disaster.

"I got an emergency pack on Monday from New World – Grab & Go – for $70.

She says she has been looking at the kits on the shop shelf for months but was prompted to invest after hearing about the earthquakes at the weekend.

"At home we've got heating and gas cylinders and three big 5 litre bottles of water for the two of us.

"I think here we could get a tsunami and we live on the estuary. Like my neighbour says, 'fill up the gas and head on up'."

Rodney Times