Earthquakes in the Kāpiti Region

Kāpiti is a tectonically active area.  There are five known faults traversing the area:

  • Ohariu Fault
  • Northern Ohariu Fault
  • Gibbs Fault
  • Ōtaki Forks Fault
  • Southeast Reikorangi Fault

New Zealand lies on the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.  The plates push against each other, along a curving boundary, at a steady rate.  The plate boundaries become more and more stressed until eventually something has to give – and an earthquake occurs along a fault somewhere in the plate boundary

While we often feel small earthquakes that don’t cause much damage, many of the active faults in the region are capable of producing large earthquakes.

Be Prepared

An earthquake can occur at any time. There is no early warning, the first sign of a quake is often a rumbling sound followed by rolling and shaking.

Know what to do before you have to do it. If you have a plan, an emergency water supply and a well stocked emergency kit, you may save yourself and your family from a lot of avoidable distress!

To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the Get Ready Get Thru website here. 

Hazards are associated with earthquakes

There are a number of hazards associated with earthquakes including fault/ground rupture, liquefaction, ground shaking, land slides and tsunami.  Each of the earthquake hazards is likely to affect different areas within the District.

Kāpiti Coast Combined Earthquake Risk Maps (PDF, 4 pages, 577Kb) 

For more information on earthquake hazards in the Wellington region visit the WREMO website,   

Fault movement

In a major earthquake the ground may rupture, with ruptures typically occurring along existing fault traces. This could involve horizontal and/or vertical movement of several meters

View technical information here, about:

  • Fault Rupture Hazards
  • The risks associated with fault traces
  • Where the faults are in the District


Ground shaking causes some soils to behave like a liquid, causing structures to sink, tilt or topple over

Ground shaking

Violent ground shaking could last up to a minute in a large earthquake. It may be difficult to remain standing during an earthquake. Several hundred aftershocks could be felt in the weeks following the main quake.

For information regarding recent earthquakes in New Zealand visit the Geonet website here.


Damage from earthquake-induced landslides can range form severely weakened foundations and structural failures, to total destruction.


Tsunami are long, deep, fast travelling ocean waves propagated by a displacement of water caused by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions beneath or near the ocean.

View information about tsunami risks on the Kāpiti Coast here.

Related Links

Property Information
Building Control
Council Policies

In an emergency, dial 111, for:

  • police
  • fire - including Rural Fire
  • ambulance

Ring this number if lives or property are at risk. 

Kāpiti Coast District Council Emergency Contact Details

Other emergency contact details:

  • Electra: 0800 567 876
  • Gas: 0800 802 332

Useful links

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office 
Wellington Rural Fire Authority
NZ Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (CDEM)
Neighbourhood Support
Earthquake Commission (EQC)
Institure of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (GNS)
National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
The Meteorological Service of NZ