Papamoa's official safe-zone during a tsunami evacuation is about to be formally opened.

Tauranga City Council is inviting the community to the official opening of the first purpose-built tsunami high ground in the Southern Hemisphere on Saturday, April 7 from 3.30pm at Gordon Spratt Reserve, Papamoa. The council was incorporating the opening of the high ground into a community evacuation event for Papamoa.

Paul Baunton, manager of emergency management and safety said the purpose of the event was to encourage residents to practice evacuation plans, including making sure people had an emergency grab-bag packed. The event would assist people to prepare for a tsunami evacuation, he said.

"Over the past six years, Tauranga City Council has been working on ways to keep our community safe in the event of a tsunami. We have worked with natural hazard experts and emergency planners to gather an unprecedented amount of knowledge, so that we could confidently identify safe zones and locations," Baunton said in a statement.

Residents along the Bay's coastline now had a network of tsunami evacuation routes, safe locations and a suite of clearly marked evacuation maps and signs.

The council said it was investing in what would become an annual citywide event to highlight the importance of practising evacuation plans. The council would start in one part of the city first, and over the next two to three years increase the level of participation to all tsunami at-risk communities.

The council was encouraging everyone in the Papamoa community to walk or cycle along the evacuation routes to attend a fun and informative event to open the Gordon Spratt high ground, at Gordon Spratt Reserve, Papamoa.

Residents with disabilities were encouraged to test out their evacuation plan using their chosen transport

The event, called the inaugural Never Happens? Happens community event, is on Saturday, April 7 from 3.30pm to 7pm.


There will be music and entertainment along the routes, as well as emergency services information and displays, sports activities, a live-music stage, food vendors and prizes at the event.