Tauranga City Council has won the innovation award at the Civil Defence Emergency Management Awards in Wellington tonight for its tsunami risk management work.

The Director's Award for Innovation recognises, "exceptional innovation or creativity is given out only to organisations that push the boundaries of current CDEM practice in NZ''.

For the last four years, Paul Baunton, the council's Emergency Management manager has been focused on building tsunami safety and resilience - providing Tauranga's at-risk communities with easily accessible safe zones that can be reached quickly, using sign-posted evacuation routes.

TCC worked alongside Emergency Management Bay of Plenty, police and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and natural hazards resilience experts Tonkin and Taylor to drastically reduce the risk to lives.

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Tauranga City Council continues to invest in disaster preparedness to make the city and its residents more resilient to shocks and stresses, Tonkin and Taylor's Natural Hazards Resilience sector director Richard Reinen-Hamill said.

"Tauranga City Council has long lead the way in managing the effects of natural hazards from their ground breaking planning lead response to address coastal erosion and climate change in the 1990's to their present work to understand and manage the risk of tsunami inundation.

"Working with specialist experts and stakeholder groups, Council has developed an innovative and national leading approach to provide effective emergency evacuation as part of their suite of approaches to contribute to Civil Defence and Emergency Management.''