Carina Dickson has an emergency kit in her Whangarei home; the same kit she had at her high-rise office in Wellington when an earthquake struck the capital in 2012.

The mother-of-one is calling on Northlanders to keep an emergency kit at home and work as a natural disaster can cut them off from the rest of the country at any time.

Her advice comes after the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group said Monday morning's 40-minute evacuation following a devastating earthquake in the South Island was the largest-scale evacuation ever undertaken in the region.

As a government worker Mrs Dickson was given a yellow box to fill with emergency supplies when she started at the Ministry of Education in Wellington in 2009.


Although she experienced an earthquake in Wellington in 2012 and was evacuated, she did not need to use supplies from her kit and brought it to Whangarei when her family moved up in 2013.

"In Whangarei we are not immune from natural disasters and with flooding and storms more common in Northland, we might get cut off from the rest of the people.
An emergency kit will be very handy and people up here should have them at home.

"The other thing to think about is 'what's your emergency plan?' such as where do we go and who do we stay with during a disaster."

Mrs Dickson, husband, Paul, and their 10-month-old son, George, were visiting relatives in Methven, north of Ashburton, when the latest earthquake struck just at 12:02am Monday. Fortunately, they were not affected. They flew to Auckland from Christchurch yesterday.

The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group was pleased with how the evacuation was handled.

"A near-source tsunami is one of the most challenging scenarios to manage and given that it was the early hours of the morning, people did really well," group controller Tony Phipps said.

"We had a major nationwide tsunami exercise earlier this year and there was also a tsunami warning arising from the East Cape earthquake on September 2. We have learned a lot from both events."

"It was great to see that people in a number of communities alerted their neighbours to the tsunami warning. That's an essential part of communities looking after themselves."

He said the group was also aware that Northlanders were now thinking about their own preparedness for a tsunami.

Northland had more than 3200 kilometres of coastline with some isolated communities.
Some Northern Advocate Facebook followers said they had not heard the sirens on Monday morning.

Marcus Bryce said: "Hard to head for the hills when the sirens just 200m away from our house don't even wake us up!"

Alida Wheat said: "We barely could hear the tsunami sirens up Cullen road Waipu Cove. Later on they were much louder and many many cars went up the road."

Mr Phipps said Northlanders could download the free Red Cross Hazard app for emergency alerts.

Your emergency survival kit should contain:
* Torch and radio with spare batteries
* Hearing aids, glasses, mobility aids, if needed
* Emergency water and easy-to-carry food rations (energy bars, dried foods)
* First-aid kit and medical supplies
* Essential items for infants/young children such as formula, nappies and favourite toy
* Change of clothes (waterproof/windproof/strong outdoor shoes)
* Essential toiletries, and large rubbish bag for emergency toilet
* Blankets or sleeping bag
* Face and dust masks
* Pet supplies, if needed
In case of emergency, homes should have a portable getaway kit and an emergency survival kit to survive for three days or more.