NZ ShakeOut

At 9.15am this morning, New Zealanders were asked to imagine an earthquake had hit. We were told to drop, cover and hold – drop to the floor, get under cover of a table, and hold the legs of the table. Civil Defence, who organised this, wants us to prepare for an earthquake and know what to do.

It is hard to know how many people did drop, cover and hold at 9.15am. Many people in Christchurch said they already knew what to do in an earthquake. Some Christchurch people are still anxious after the earthquake four and five years ago. For this reason, they did not want to take part in the Shake Out activity.

All of us, however, do need a reminder to prepare for an emergency. Civil Defence recommends that we store at least 20 litres of water, keep a first aid kit ready, have a battery-operated radio and a torch that works. It is also a good idea to arrange a meeting place if there is an earthquake when family members are at work or school. Getting home may not be possible. If there is no electricity, most home phones will not work and we will not be able to charge our mobile phones.

New Zealand is sometimes called The Shaky Isles. We do have earthquakes. A few days ago, there was a 5.7 earthquake followed by after-shocks, in the lower North Island. We also know that the Alpine Fault could rupture at any time, causing a major earthquake. The Alpine Fault runs for 600km along the backbone of the South Island.

Listen to daily life after an earthquake to find out what life is like after a big earthquake.


• Civil Defence – an organisation which helps in an emergency
• first aid kit – a box containing basic medicine, bandages, antiseptic etc.
• alpine – mountain
• rupture – break
• major – very big (opposite: minor)


recommends that we … (also: suggests that we …) Do not use the object pronoun


Have you ever experienced an earthquake? If so, do you have advice to offer which is different from this?

Leave a Reply