Kāpiti's natural hazards
Natural hazards are the threat of naturally occurring events that may have a negative effect on people or the environment. They include earthquakes and extreme weather events such as storms, floods, and landslides.
Managing the risk of natural hazards is expected to be a major focus for the Council and the community over the coming years.
Kāpiti is a tectonically active area. There are five known faults across our area:
- Ohariu fault
- Northern Ohariu fault
- Gibbs fault
- Ōtaki Forks fault
- Southeast Reikorangi fault.
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. Make sure you’re prepared – check out our Get prepared page.
The following links give information relating to earthquakes, risks and hazards:
- about recent earthquakes in New Zealand, see the Geonet website
- find out more about why we have earthquakes in New Zealand on GNS Science's website
- hazards associated with earthquakes, on GNS Science's Earthquake hazards page
- the earthquake risks across Kāpiti, in Greater Wellington’s Earthquake Risk Maps
- technical information about Kāpiti's Earthquake fault rupture hazards.
Tsunami are long, deep, fast-travelling ocean waves caused by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions beneath or near the ocean. They can be spread over a 12-hour period, arriving up to an hour apart.
The Kāpiti Coast is a seismically active area, and with the coastline running the length of our district, we live with the risk that a large earthquake or a tsunami could affect us at any time.
The risk is slightly greater since the 14 November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, and while we can’t predict when earthquakes and tsunami will happen, we can help protect ourselves and our families by being prepared.
If you live, work or regularly spend time in one of the Kāpiti Coast’s tsunami evacuation zones it’s important that you know the warning signs of a tsunami and have a plan to get to safety.
See Civil Defence's Tsunami page for information about the types of tsunami, and the amount of warning we're likely to have for each; it might be only minutes, so it's important you read this information.
Tsunami evacuation zones
Tsunami Evacuation Zone Maps have been developed by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Civil Defence, and identify the areas you need to evacuate from if there could be a tsunami. Know Kāpiti’s tsunami zones, and get prepared. Find out more about Evacuation time estimates for local-source tsunami in Kāpiti from GNS Science.
Types of tsunami warnings
There are three types of tsunami warnings:
- natural warnings
- official warnings
- informal warnings.
See Civil Defence's Tsunami warnings information to know what each warning means, and what you need to do.
We don’t have civil defence sirens in Kāpiti.
In a local earthquake that generates a local tsunami, there's generally no time for official warnings, and sirens are vulnerable to damage and lack of power in emergencies.
Floods are a common hazard in Kāpiti. A flood becomes dangerous when:
- water's travelling very fast
- water's very deep
- flood water has risen very quickly
- flood water contains debris, such as trees and sheets of corrugated iron.
You can find out more on WREMO's Flood page.
The big global issue related to natural hazards is the impact of climate change. We face increased risk of flooding and erosion caused by more intense storms, and a likely rise in sea levels from a combination of melting ice and the expansion of warmer water. Coastal communities like Kāpiti are more vulnerable than most.
More information about natural hazards is in the Natural Hazard and Managed Retreat discussion document available under District Plan Review.
The District Plan includes policies and rules on land use. The Council has a responsibility under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to avoid development in areas of known hazard risk. This means we must identify areas of risk and look at restrictions on future use.
As part of this we review the District's vulnerability to natural hazards and look at risk management strategies.
Because the picture is changing rapidly, areas at particular risk of flooding and erosion must be regularly reviewed. In Kāpiti some areas considered safe when developed have since been identified as natural hazard zones.
To avoid increased risks, we need to consider how to manage withdrawing from natural hazard zones that have already been developed. We also need to ensure there is space to pull back if risks worsen.
To be part of ongoing conversations with the community on what to do about increasing climate change impacts, please contact a policy planner on 04 296 4700.
Our online maps can help you identify natural hazards in your area.
- Open the Proposed District Plan map.
- Click on the Layers icon to show the map layers.
- Untick the 'Plan Zones' layer.
- Click the 'Natural Hazards' layer.
- Click in Search box, in the top left corner of the map.
- Type your address.
Result: the Proposed District Plan natural hazards data for your property displays.