Civil Defence Emergency declarations

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, an emergency may be declared for an area (such as Whanganui District) where an emergency means a situation that:

  • is the result of any happening, whether natural or otherwise, including, without limitation, any explosion, earthquake, eruption, tsunami, land movement, flood, storm, tornado, cyclone, serious fire, leakage or spillage of any dangerous gas or substance, technological failure, infestation, plague, epidemic, failure of or disruption to an emergency service or a lifeline utility, or actual or imminent attack or warlike act
  • causes or may cause loss of life or injury or illness or distress or in any way endangers the safety of the public or property in New Zealand or any part of New Zealand
  • cannot be dealt with by emergency services, or otherwise requires a significant and co-ordinated response under this Act.

An emergency declaration can only be made by the Mayor (of the area where the emergency has happened), or the appointed Controller of that area.

History of Civil Defence emergency declarations for Whanganui District

Declaration Date   Termination Date   Emergency   Description  
10 March 1990 14 March 1990 Flooding of Whanganui River Cyclone Hilda. 96 homes evacuated. In the event, farm damage was estimated at $12 million. Declared at 2015; terminated at 1230. Insurance costs in this event, excl. EQC were $1.8m (1994).
8 November 1994 9 November 1994 Flooding of Whanganui River Declared at 1800, lifted at 1200. 157 evacuated from 82 households.
29 October 1998 30 October 1998 Flooding of Whanganui River Declared at 0630; lifted 1400 next day. Declaration to facilitate evacuation of 62 residential properties & 45 commercial premises threatened by possible overtopping of the stopbanks of the Whanganui River. 75 evacuees; 24 in motel accommodation. Stopbanks not breached although some localised flooding occurred.
17 February 2004 25 February 2004 Storm Event Intense rainfall and gale force winds over nine days. A local declaration was made over the region, covering South Taranaki, Whanganui, Ruapehu, Rangitikei, Manawatu, Tararua and Horowhenua. Other parts of NZ also affected by the same storm were South Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.  
15 September 2013 16 September 2013  Flooding Event Whanganui River Flooding. 140 homes adjacent to Kowhai Park and in Pūtiki evacuated. Over thirty businesses along Taupō Quay evacuated. State of Emergency declared.
20 June 2015   30 June 2015 Flooding Event 
Intense rainfall onto waterlogged soil over entire region caused significant widespread localised flooding and landslides, followed by flooding of Whanganui, Waitotara and Whangaehu rivers with hundreds of homes and businesses flooded and rural communities cut off. 10-day State of Emergency. Estimated $150m in damage across our District. 
6 April 2017
7 April 2017   Flooding Event Met Service warnings of a significant rainfall event in the upper catchment modelled to overtop flood defenses. One-day declaration and precautionary evacuations of Anzac Parade, Putiki and Taupō Quay. Weather system bumped to Edgecumbe by southerly change and no damage reported.


To find out more, go to