The March 5 tsunami warning evacuation on the Karikari Peninsula generally went well, but did expose some issues that the first response group wants to be addressed before another emergency.
One of those issues was the number of people, some with quite serious health issues, who arrived at the community hall at Whatuwhiwhi without their medication.
"I think it was a good wake-up call for many," first response group member Leena Taylor said.
Another was the number of evacuation signs that had been stolen.
"They are expensive, and it takes time to replace them," she said.
Meanwhile 235 people (and 15 dogs) registered at the hall. Many more arrived in campervans but did not register. Those who did so were asked for their name, phone number, health conditions, medication, pets, and if they had contacted the necessary people. A few needed reassuring, tea and coffee were provided, some arrived with food to share and many offered their help in the kitchen.
Some, including a person in a wheelchair, could not evacuate easily, and were helped by the fire brigade.
Wardens directed traffic around the hall environs to keep the area clear. People were reminded to stay there, and warned that the fire brigade would likely turn them around if they wanted to leave the peninsula.
Everything seemed to have fallen into place "accidentally well" at the Rangiputa fire station, where a number of boaties who had been fishing arrived, many of them because they had seen others leaving.
"There is no Coastguard service on that side of the harbour," Taylor said, "and some people thought that the siren, being intermittent was a car alarm. Mobile coverage in Rangiputa is not good."
Allocated checks, including at Rangiputa, were carried out at the Karikari fire station, where there were concerns about people out at the cape and at the Orere end of Tokerau Beach. One person had gone to to communicate with those without phones, and everything appeared to go well, people evacuating as required.
Thirty or 40 people in about 20 vehicles, including campervans, gathered on the old air strip north of Ramp Rd, Taylor saying they would have been "in trouble" in wet weather. Staff from the Rangiputa Block remained there until the all clear sounded. There were issues with a lack of water, which could be a concern in future incidents, especially given communication problems, and in wet weather that location would not be accessible for most vehicles.
About 12 staff, 12 guests and around 24 others evacuated to the Carrington Estate winery, while DOC and the Kaitiaki Rangers got the message to evacuate at Maitai Bay.
There were concerns at Haititaimarangai Marae about the especially vulnerable, who were checked on.
"Numerous people on the hill at Whatuwhiwhi opened their homes and allowed people to park on or near their properties," Taylor added.
"A number of elderly and more vulnerable folk were cared for by these people.
"Many campervans etc parked along Carrington Drive and surrounds. The local first response group was especially grateful to those who stepped up and helped in any way they could."