A new tsunami detection set-up which will monitor the Kermadec and Hikurangi trenches, which have the potential to send a tsunami toward the East Coast, and Hawke's Bay, is well timed.
For it comes just a month after data collected from the Hikurangi subduction zone by an international team of scientists shows the major fault is more active than previously thought.
The Hikurangi trench is New Zealand's largest active fault system and now it will be under extremely close warning scrutiny.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys.
"New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters — it is vital we have adequate warning systems in place," Peters said.
He said the DART buoys were the only tried and repeatedly tested technology that would confirm the generation of tsunami waves before they reach the coast.
"This is particularly critical for unfelt earthquakes originating from the Kermadec trench — we have invested in the best equipment to keep New Zealanders safe.
"Until now, New Zealand has been reliant on a single, aging DART buoy. This is a shocking inadequacy that we have addressed with urgency."
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Henare said the programme involved the establishment of 15 DART buoys to provide early detection and support warnings for tsunami generated from the Kermadec and Hikurangi trenches "right on our doorstep" adding that the coalition Government had prioritised a significant and ambitious programme of work for emergency management and response.
"This system will provide rapid confirmation if a tsunami has been generated, and will enable more accurate warnings of tsunami that can be communicated via public alerting systems like Emergency Mobile Alert.
"This is about saving lives – people are at the heart of what we do," Henare said.
GNS Science's National Geohazards Monitoring Centre will support the 24/7 monitoring to receive, process and analyse the data from the buoys, and the National Emergency Management Agency would issue tsunami warnings and advisories to the New Zealand public.
The DART buoy network will also provide tsunami monitoring and detection information for Pacific countries, including Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa.
The establishment of the New Zealand DART Buoy Network is part of the Emergency Management System Reform, a range of initiatives aimed at improving the emergency management system.
These include the establishment of a new National Emergency Management Agency and the establishment of the Emergency Management Assistance Team.