Disaster Risk - Rotorua

What are the potential disaster risks for Rotorua?

  • Volcanic eruption, including ash fall
  • Earthquake
  • Rural fire
  • Flooding
  • Extreme weather event
  • Hydrothermal eruption
  • Animal disease
  • Pandemic
  • Lifelines utility failure


As Rotorua is well-known for its geothermal activity, one of our biggest potential hazards is infrequent hydrothermal eruptions and the collapse of unstable hot ground.  The district is exposed to a wide variety of volcanic hazards including ash deposits from an eruption. 

Rotorua can also experience extreme weather events such as major storms accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain or snowfall, hail, thunder, lightning and tornadoes.  These can damage property and infrastructure, affect crops and livestock and disrupt essential services, which can have an effect on the local economy.

Like other districts, Rotorua is also at risk of disasters that are caused by people including agricultural emergencies, industrial processes, urban fires, public health crises and infrastructure failure.

Learn about disasters in New Zealand

Click on a 'type' of disaster to learn more about what to do before, during and after

Link Image for Earthquake   Link Image for Storms Link Image for Volcano Link Image for Tsunami Link Image for FloodLink Image for Landslide

Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and storms can strike at any time, sometimes without warning. All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives.

  • Many disasters will affect essential services and possibly disrupt your ability to travel or communicate with each other
  • In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, emergency services will not be able to get help to everyone as quickly as needed
    • This is when you are likely to be most vulnerable
    • So it is important to plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more in the event of a disaster
    • Make sure your Household Emergency Plan  is up-to-date and you have prepared your Household Survival Kit & Get Away Kit
    • Consider having an emergency evacuation plan
  • Is up to date You may be confined to your home or forced to evacuate from your neighbourhood

Knowing what to do during and after these disasters will help you and your loved ones keep safe and get through.


As a result of a civil defence emergency and to ensure your safety, you may be forced to leave your home, office, school or neighbourhood at short notice in some situations.

Before an evacuation:

  • Sign up to emergency e-text alerting
  • Consider your transportation options in case you have to evacuate
  • If there is a possibility of evacuation by vehicle, fill up your gas tank.  
    • Keep in mind that if there are power cuts, fuel stations may not be able to operate pumps
  • Know which local radio stations to listen to for official emergency announcements [add the link to the stations here]
  • Discuss and practice your evacuation plans with everyone in the household
    • If you have pets, domestic animals or livestock, include them in your emergency plans
  • Know the evacuation routes you could take and plan several evacuation routes in case roads are damaged or blocked

 If you are in an area being evacuated:

  • Listen to the local radio stations as civil defence will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation
  • Evacuate quickly if told to do so by authorities
    • Take your getaway kit with you
    • If you are outside the evacuation zone when a warning is issued, do not go into an at-risk area to collect your belongings
  • If there is time, secure your home as you normally would when leaving for an extended period
  • Turn off electricity and water at the mains if there is time.
    • Do not turn off natural gas unless you smell a leak or hear a blowing or hissing sound, or are advised to do so by the authorities.
  • Take your pets with you when you leave if you can safely do so
  • If you have livestock, evacuate your family and staff first.
    • If there is time, move livestock and domestic animals to a safer area
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities
    • Some areas may be impassable or dangerous so avoid shortcuts
    • Do not drive through moving water
    • If you come upon a barrier, follow posted detour signs
Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:11am