The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management is on target to have one million participants in its earthquake drill next month.

About 750,000 people have signed up to take part in the New Zealand Shakeout, which aims to help people and organisations get better prepared for major earthquakes, and practice how to be protected when they happen.

The drill will be at 9:26-26:9 (9.26am on September 26).

Civil Defence director John Hamilton said campaigners had been working with businesses, local government, schools, central government agencies and other organisations to get people to practice "drop, cover and hold" - the right action to take in an earthquake.


"With six weeks to the drill we are well on the way to our target but there is still a way to one million," Mr Hamilton said.

The largest number of participants so far had been from schools, followed by businesses.

"It is great to see businesses getting involved, with many of them looking at this as more than solely a drill. We have businesses looking at the earthquake safety of their buildings, planning and testing how they would operate after an emergency, and considering the safety of customers and visitors to their sites."