The latest Civil Defence hazard map for Hawke's Bay paints a grim picture of what could happen to your home when the big one hits. Georgia May reports.
Dorothy Townshend faces a triple threat.
1. She lives on top of where a faultline is estimated to run through.
2. Her Westshore home would be, to be blunt, utterly inundated by a large tsunami.
3. If and when Earth were to rupture around her, there's a decent chance her Whakarire Ave home, or what is left of it, would be hit by the sinking, bubbling nightmare that is liquefaction.
The 88-year-old now knows all of this now. The Hawke's Bay hazard portal tells her.
Thanks to a $25,000 upgrade launched last week residents are able to type in their home address and identify whether they live in a hazardous zone, whether it's on or near a fault line, in a flood or landslide zone, in a tsunami's firing line or liquefaction zone.
Hawke's Bay Civil Defence emergency management group manager Ian Macdonald said the portal had been helping people make better risk-management decisions for the past four years.
"We started commissioning research back in the mid-90s to better understand our natural hazards risks, and we've been collating, publishing and updating the information on an ongoing basis since then.
"You name a hazard and we have it here in Hawke's Bay, so we developed the hazard map portal for our communities to be better informed and prepared.
"With the latest improvements, it's easier to find out which natural hazards might affect the places where you live and work and which hazards might affect Hawke's Bay in the future, including hazard descriptions and 'what you can do' information."
The portal provides free information, so people can check the hazard information for their current property or land they're thinking of buying or developing.
Data is limited around central and northern Hawke's Bay, but the map shows Wairoa is one of the areas with a high liquefaction hazard, whereas Hastings is lower down the scale.
Flood risk assessments show that most of Clive would be underwater and all but Napier Hill would be a temporary Art Deco Atlantis if a worst-case tsunami coming from "a near source" struck.
The effect would differ if the tsunami developed from further across the globe, such as Peru and wouldn't have as strong of an impact.
The map shows the faultlines that litter Central Hawke's Bay, scattering themselves from Waipukurau to Otane and of course stretching all the way up to Napier.
"Hazards are categorised so people can easily find earthquake fault lines, liquefaction-prone areas, coastal erosion, flood risk zones and now landslide risks," MacDonald said.
MacDonald said Civil Defence had been working on the upgrade to the online hazard map portal for the last two years.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find hazard information for where they live, work and play, so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families based on the risks they face.
"We'll continue to update the portal as we learn more about our region's risks so we can all be better informed and prepared."
Back to Townshend. She says she isn't at all fazed by what the portal says about her home that she's lived in for 32 years.
She reckons she's seen plenty of large waves, felt plenty of earthquakes, and ridden them all out so far.
"When my husband and I first built our house here, the sea came up to lawn level which worried me a lot," Townshend said.
"So I started attending a lot of meetings and pitched that something should be done."
Townshend's concerns didn't go unnoticed and a revetment zone was embedded in the water.
"I attended all these meetings about 25 years ago and as a result, they put all these rocks in and we could instantly see that it made a difference.
"From that moment onwards everything became wonderful because it's the only part of Westshore beach that's turned to sand and it's built right up and it's the only part of Westshore that people can come down to the beach, not get knocked down by the waves, walk their dogs," she said.
"If I didn't think the revetment worked then I wouldn't be here today, I would have moved by now."
A nonchalant Townshend said she had no evacuation plan prepared.
"I have a two-storey house and my neighbour asked if a tsunami hit could she come to my place where it's a bit high up. I said yes, but it depends how big the wave is."
Townshend remembered when a tsunami had struck Napier many years ago and although it didn't strike her home, it did affect the Napier Yacht Club.
"It wasn't a big wall of water, it was one of those ones that just kept coming in and coming in and it didn't recede."
She even resorted to getting the boat out, on stand-by just in case she needed it.
"It was in the garage though, so I don't think it would have done much good," she said.
The online hazard portal can be found at www.hbhazards.co.nz.