Civil Defence said the results of an unofficial street poll of 30 people, which found only nine respondents had an emergency survival kit, were disappointing but not surprising.
The Bay of Plenty Times poll came off the back of the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Kaikoura on Monday which was felt throughout the country and led to tsunami evacuations here in the Western Bay of Plenty.
"Being prepared is easy," Emergency Management Bay of Plenty community resilience adviser Naomi Luckett said.
However, a recent study found only 25 per cent of New Zealanders have emergency supplies which they regularly update, have sufficient stored water and have made a plan for what to do during a disaster.
Only 14 per cent of people were fully prepared.
"The first step is to start a conversation with your family, neighbours, colleagues and friends. Talk about what you would do if there was no water, no power, no communications."
Living by the coast there were several hazards Tauranga residents needed to be aware of, she said.
"If you live by the coast, take a look at the tsunami evacuation map for your local area, decide what evacuation route you will take and take care of vulnerable people in your community."
An emergency getaway kit was a good idea too, she said, with photocopies of important documents, medication, water, snacks, first aid kit, warm clothes, a little cash and a wind up radio.
The study found people who did not believe a disaster would happen in their area were less likely to prepare.
But, as the community found out on Monday, a disaster could hit anywhere, anytime.
"Being prepared gives you and your family the best chance of surviving," Ms Luckett said.
"Emergency services will be stretched and it may take some time before they are able to assist everyone, so it's vital that people prepare now and ensure they are able to look after themselves for at least three days if they need to."
Ms Luckett said people should also plan for their pets, infants and family that may have special needs.
- To address the low number of Kiwis prepared for a disaster Civil Defence have launched 'Happens'
- Go online to make a plan with your family to get through an emergency. Think about the things you need every day and work out what you would do if you didn't have them.
- Fill in a form then print it out, stick it on the fridge and make sure everyone knows the plan. Or save it as a PDF and email it to your family members.