Youngsters show quake readiness

19:38, Mar 29 2012

A classroom of Wellington five-year-olds carried out the first "ShakeOut" drill to launch a nationwide earthquake education campaign yesterday.

The Owhiro Bay School students showed Civil Defence Minister Chris Tremain how the "Drop, Cover and Hold" – known to them as the "turtle hold" – was done.

While the adults in the room, and the campaign's giant dog mascot, struggled to manoeuvre themselves under the mini class furniture, the children scrambled into place immediately.

It was an example of what the Civil Defence Ministry is aiming to get 1 million New Zealanders to do on September 26, at 9.26am, in an effort to spread the message of how to react in an earthquake.

The campaign is modelled on a campaign in California where, in a population of 37 million, 8.6 million performed the "drop, cover and hold" at one time.

The website,, was also launched.

Owhiro Bay School principal Karen Hardie said her pupils were aware of what to do in an earthquake and the school even had a path formed up the hill in the event of a tsunami threat. The campaign will reach schools nationwide over six months.