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February 2014

Download a text only version of e-Bulletin.

Foreword from the Director

John Hamilton

This month we mark the third anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake and remember those that lost their lives, those that grieve and those that continue to work to reassemble their lives and livelihoods.  For anyone with a connection to Christchurch, the memories of that day and the hard days after the earthquake, are never far away.  While we must remember the suffering, we should also reflect on the lessons that can be drawn and work assiduously to implement enhancements in an effort to make our communities better able to cope with such adversity.

The 2014 annual civil defence emergency management conference will be held in February too.  This year the civil defence emergency management theme will run in parallel with a business preparedness and resilience theme in an effort to foster closer relationships and to learn from each other’s experiences and explore ways to build on the synergies that exist between us.  In CDEM we know we are well supported by the lifelines companies listed in the Act. It is hoped the conference will extend that understanding into the smaller enterprises that play such a critical role in the economy and contribute to so much in communities. But neither the conference discussions nor any list of lessons identified will ensure change.  The changes we need will only come from deeper investigation of the symptoms and the development of adjustments in attitudes and advice and implementation of new ideas. 

The revision to the way in which we approach the delivery of welfare services in the response arose from reviewing experiences and changing processes and we have applied a similar approach to reviewing CIMS, the Co-ordinated Incident Management System.  Both these topics, alongside many others, have been factored into a revision of the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan.  The revised Plan is about to begin its Parliamentary approval process and that includes provision for public consultation. I think we have taken into account lessons derived from past experiences and I am confident we have advanced our thinking and approaches.

The Minister’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Awards recognise the contributions individuals and organisations make to civil defence emergency management.  This year the awards are to be presented by Hon Nikki Kaye at a reception in Parliament in conjunction with the annual conference.  The Minister will announce the recipients and their deeds at the time.  Suffice to say the recipients illustrate the depth and breadth of those involved in making communities more prepared and better able to cope.  The list includes those that have contributed as local leaders, organisations that set examples for others, and those whose personal initiative, energy and perseverance have advanced civil defence emergency management locally and nationally. 

It is great to be part of an evolving system that adapts to changes, and humbling to be alongside so many people who willingly contribute their time and effort to improving their communities.

NIWA’s Red-alert tide calendar for 2014 out now

Flooded cycleway- NW Motorway Auckland – February 1 [KingTides Auckland web site]

Flooded cycleway – NW Motorway Auckland – February 1 [KingTides Auckland website].

NIWA’s annual Storm-tide Red-alert calendar for NZ is now available for 2014.

The calendar predicts when very high tides, known as king tides, may lead to flooding of roads and properties in low-lying coastal areas, especially when they combine with storms.

The calendar, which has been issued for about 10 years, provides a heads-up warning for residents, civil defence staff, roading agencies and coastal and stormwater managers.

NIWA Programme Leader for Hazards and Risk Rob Bell says that when these higher king tides coincide with a low pressure system, high swells, storm surges, strong winds or even tsunamis, the chances of coastal flooding are much higher.

“This is a very simple forecasting tool that enables people to do some planning and make decisions ahead of time, especially if adverse weather is forecast a few days ahead of those dates”

Higher tide levels will become more common as sea levels rise and the calendar also helps raise awareness that increasingly higher king-tide levels being observed and documented will be the first noticeable indication of climate change at the coast.

Meanwhile, Auckland Council is sponsoring a community based initiative that encourages residents to photograph high king tides as a way of raising awareness of rising sea levels (see story below).  People took photographs of the coast during the king tide on February 1-2 and uploaded images to the internet, or via social media.  The longer-term goal of the initiative is to target one or two king tide events per year, and expand the project to other regions.

Principal Specialist Coastal, Scott Speed, said similar projects were operating in California and parts of Australia and were a fun way of demonstrating how a “normal” tide might look like in the future with projected sea level rise.

“These tides give people an opportunity to be coastal time travellers and give them a glimpse of the future.”

Some glimpses of the king-tide peaks on February 1 & 2 in Ohiwa Harbour at Mt Maunganui (BOP) and Auckland are shown in the photographs.

Dr Rob Bell

Scott Speed
Auckland Council

Ohiwa Estuary (Bay of Plenty) overflows at ~9am February 1  [R Bell]

Ohiwa Estuary (Bay of Plenty) overflows at 9am February 1 [R Bell]

Mt Maunganui beaches at 8:30pm February 1 [R Bell]

Mt Maunganui beaches at 8:30pm February 1 [R Bell]

Cheltenham Beach, Auckland – February 2 [KingTides Auckland web site]

Cheltenham Beach, Auckland – February 2 [KingTides Auckland website]

Bucklands Beach, Auckland – February 2 [KingTides Auckland web site]

Bucklands Beach, Auckland – February 2 [KingTides Auckland website]

“Snap the coast, see the future” - Auckland’s king tides Initiative

King Tides logo

Auckland King Tides initiative is an exciting community initiative, sponsored by Auckland Council that encourages people from around the Auckland region to visit and photograph the highest tides that naturally occur along the coastline each year.  Joining the global king tides movement, people are working together to share information on sea level change and the potential impact.

Using online tools, the public are encouraged to upload images of the coast during king tide events.  These photographs are used as a living record to capture what our coast may look like in the future as global sea levels continue to rise.  The images provide the community an opportunity to visualise our changing coastlines and provide a glimpse into the future of what our normal daily high tides may look like with projected global sea level rise.

The first weekend of February 2014 saw Auckland with the some of highest king tides for this year, which provided the perfect launch pad for the initiative and website.  The main launch event took place on Sunday, February 2 with the expected highest tide of 3.7m at 10:07am for the east coast of Auckland.  A photo point was set up on Takapuna beach (Auckland’s North Shore), where the community was encouraged to get involved in a time sequence of photos as the tide rose to its highest peak over a series of hours.  There was a huge amount of media interest over the weekend, with numerous news interviews and online articles.  Between January 31and February 3 the website had a total of 2,437 visits and 17,629 people exposed to the initiative through Facebook.

Cycleway - West Auckland

Cycleway - West Auckland

Milford beach - North Shore

Milford beach - North Shore

Takapuna beach - North Shore

Takapuna beach - North Shore

Tamaki Drive

Tamaki Drive

Purpose built for emergencies in Nelson-Tasman

The new Emergency Operations Centre.

The ability of the Nelson-Tasman CDEM Group to respond to civil defence events took a big step forward this month when the new Group Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was completed.

The new EOC is now in Richmond, about 15 km south of Nelson City. The location was chosen after a careful analysis of regional hazards.  For example, the building has been constructed outside potential liquefaction zones and above the level of a 1-in-500 year flood that hit Richmond last April.  The EOC has been built to a very high structural standard (Importance Level 4) so that it can still function even after a major earthquake.

Staff from the Nelson-Tasman Emergency Management Office moved in at the beginning of January and the team is now focused on Stage two of the project, which is to fit out the main operations room.  The EOC will be fully up and running in coming weeks, with an exercise planned for April.

The building is owned by Fawdans Ltd, with the CDEM Group leasing the ground floor as the EOC and base for emergency management staff.  The facility has back-up power supplies, emergency water, and a range of communications options.

The Group EOC serves the area covered by Nelson City and Tasman District, which are the two unitary authorities making up the CDEM Group.  The Councils have each budgeted $150,000 in their Long Term Plans for capital expenditure on the project, and up to $90,000 per annum for on-going operational costs.

Civil defence training for Manawatu youth

Each year, for the past six years the young people on Manawatu Alternative Education have an opportunity to learn, and practise, civil defence training. Palmerston North’s civil defence expert, Jock Robinson, adapts response training so that these 'at risk' youth have the opportunity to learn what to do in a civil emergency.

This is done over a three to five week course that runs once a week for approximately an hour and a half. Each week brings a new and exciting task that challenges the students to step out of their comfort zones. The tasks teach them leadership, safety, teamwork and communication.

This year, more than 20 students applied their learning in a civil defence challenge, facing off in teams against each other to decide who would take the civil defence trophy.

The young people faced three challenges: tower rescue, hazardous chemical problem solving, and hydrant race.

Not only was it a fun afternoon, it was obvious that the students had learned new skills throughout the training that would assist them if they were faced with a civil emergency.

Civil defence training for Manawatu youth
Civil defence training for Manawatu youth
Civil defence training for Manawatu youth
Civil defence training for Manawatu youth

Porirua Emergency Response Team (PERT) 2014

Community events – highlighting Porirua City Council’s commitment to community resilience by engaging in events that brings people face-to-face with PERT. Here are some photos from Waitangi Day’s Festival of the Elements in Porirua (featured on TV1 news).

PERT in action at Waitangi Day’s Festival of the Elements in Porirua.

PERT was established in Porirua in 2012 from a group of Red Cross volunteers made up of council staff and people from the wider community. Several team members have gained qualifications in CDEM courses and being involved in PERT enables the building up of confidence and competence in response practices and techniques.

The main activities for PERT for 2014 will be:

  • WREMO Integration – standardising processes and procedures with Wellington’s head office for recruitment and training. This will start next month (March) with a serious of sessions with the lovely Rebecca Jackson of WREMO.
  • Monday night training – continuous practice and reinforcement of skills learnt during accredited qualification courses in order to gain confidence and competency. Here are some recent photos of a stretcher rescue exercise involving PERT members (in yellow flouro overalls) and trainee volunteers (in orange overalls).

Arrowtown plans for Resilience, Readiness and Response

QLDC Emergency Management Coordinator Jon Mitchell reviews the hazards, resources and needs identified during a community emergency planning workshop in Arrowtown.

QLDC Emergency Management Coordinator Jon Mitchell reviews the hazards, resources and needs identified during a community emergency planning workshop in Arrowtown.

The small but fast growing community of Arrowtown, has become the first in the Queenstown Lakes District to launch into community-based emergency planning.

The initiative arose from the Local Emergency Management Plan which the Queenstown Lakes District Council adopted in December. The Council is supporting its smaller communities to develop their own plans, taking into account local hazards, resources and special characteristics.

Around 30 people attended Arrowtown’s first workshop in February, facilitated by the Council’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Jon Mitchell, and supported by local councillors and emergency services members. They talked about the known local hazards, which range from rural fire to blizzards, earthquakes to flooding, and isolation caused by disruption to roads or bridges.

“As a district, we’re blessed with a lot of resources to throw into a response,” Jon Mitchell says. “But we know when an emergency occurs across a large area, it inevitably takes time to get outside help to every community. Everyone agreed it was important to have clarity and capability in each community to assist those in need and coordinate the use of resources.”

Arrowtown does not currently have a Neighbourhood Support network and the workshop considered establishing block or neighbourhood coordinators – possibly to be supported by the town’s Fire Service volunteers.

A second workshop will focus on developing a response plan, with a “bottom up” approach to ensure that whatever is decided is a relevant and practical approach for the Arrowtown community. The plan may be exercised this September during “Get Ready Week”.

The Auckland Engineering Lifelines Group – new website, projects and posters

Website screenshot

The Auckland Engineering Lifelines Group (AELG) website provides a valuable tool for the Group, to facilitate the distribution of information to members, promote the work of the group, and ensure that the findings are easily available to other lifelines groups and utilities both in New Zealand and overseas.  The AELG’s approach has always been to share their work as widely as possible to ensure it can be used by everyone to improve infrastructure resilience.

The old website system was unable to continue to be supported, so AELG and Auckland Council used the opportunity to update, modernise and enhance the website: www.aelg.org.nz

‘Staying Alive’ at Queen’s Wharf, Auckland

Auckland Local Emergency Response Teams.

The Emergency & Volunteer Services Open Day, ‘Staying Alive’ was held at ‘The Cloud’ (built as one of the centrepieces of the hospitality and 'party zone' facilities for the Rugby World Cup 2011) on Auckland’s Queens Wharf on Saturday February 8.  The free family fun day and was jam packed with a behind the scenes insight into the daily roles of the emergency services and other volunteer and community groups.

Auckland Council was well represented with live demonstrations by the Local Emergency Response Teams, hands on make a volcano sessions for the kids run by libraries, and promotion of a new approach to the Get Ready Get Thru personal preparedness messaging from civil defence emergency management (CDEM) staff and volunteers. 

“We are engaging with Aucklanders to show them that they are better prepared than they think”, said Auckland Council CDEM Manager Readiness and Resilience, Jeremy Holman.

“If you are able to take an often daunting task and point out that they have most of the required emergency survival items and a basic household emergency plan, they are very encouraged.

“Many people we talk to are then keen to complete the journey to being fully prepared.”

Make a volcano session for kids.

Make a volcano session for kids.

Staying Alive.

Staying Alive.

South Island CDEM Conference July 30-31

Shanty Town, Greymouth, West Coast

Shanty Town, Greymouth, West Coast.

Put these dates in your dairy now: July 30- 31 and August 1.

Set in the West Coast bush, Shanty Town is the ideal venue for a winter conference.

We have some fabulous speakers lined up, who will be informative and inspirational as well as a really excellent trades display.

If you are journeying from Christchurch this is an opportunity to take the Trans Alpine express.  This is one of the top 10 train journeys in the world, and in winter it can be spectacular. KiwiRail also give good deals during winter.

We are working on getting you the best deal for accommodation and a true West Coast conference dinner – bring on the Whitebait!

The Mines Rescue Workshop will be run by Mines Rescue personnel at their training facility in Rapahoe; this is shaping up to be a fantastic day.  Transport will be supplied to and from your accommodation.

Keep watching for further updates

Allan Wilson
For West Coast CDEM Group

2014 CDEM Group Welfare Forum

A welfare forum for CDEM Groups will be held in Auckland on 19-20 March 2014. The forum is an opportunity for those directly involved in coordinating and managing CDEM welfare to discuss best practice approaches to the provision of welfare, to workshop some of the issues arising from changes to the (draft revised) National CDEM Plan, and to be involved in the refinement of future policy and practice for the delivery of welfare in an emergency.

Discussions at the forum will inform future guidance that the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) provides to CDEM Groups on the delivery of welfare, including the revision of the Director’s Guideline Welfare in an Emergency [DGL 11/10], and the new Guide to the National CDEM Plan, both due to be developed in 2014.

Up to four participants from each CDEM Group will attend. The primary audience is local and CDEM Group Welfare Managers, and Welfare Coordination Group Chairs. Contact your CDEM Group Office or MCDEM Regional Emergency Management Advisor for more information.

Resilient Auckland Expo: 21 – 22 March 2014, Aotea Centre, Auckland

Resilient Auckland Expo banner

In conjunction with the annual New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering conference, the Resilient Auckland Expo is an opportunity for Aucklanders to learn about strengthening the resilience of their buildings from natural disasters, enhancing their business continuity plans, and improving their personal emergency preparedness.

Investment now in planning how to safeguard and future proof against natural disasters will save significant costs and emotional distress in the long run.

Emergency Media & Public Affairs Conference, Auckland 22-23 May

New Zealand’s first conference dedicated to disaster communications.

Earlybird registrations are available until the end of February for New Zealand’s first conference dedicated to disaster communications.

The Emergency Media & Public Affairs conference will be held at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland, on May 22-23.

Keynote speakers include Denis McClean, head of communications at the UN Office for Disaster Reduction, Geneva; John Hamilton, Director of CDEM; and David Morgan, Chief Pilot for Air New Zealand. The conference also includes local speakers, a practical Public Information Management session and panel discussions.

PIM and Controller workshops, and the Recovery Management Forum April 2014

Nominations are now open for the MCDEM Public Information Manager workshop (April 7-8), MCDEM Controller workshop (April 9) and MCDEM Recovery Management Forum (April 10) and will close on Friday 21 March 2014.

If you are interested in attending one of these workshops, please contact your Group Manager for more information.

We encourage Local and Group CDEM Recovery Managers with a sound knowledge and awareness of the current Recovery doctrine to attend the forum.

If you have been nominated already, you will be contacted shortly after nominations close for confirmation.

CDEM Controllers development programme update

Appropriately equipped Controllers are pivotal to the effectively management of emergencies. But whilst this is widely acknowledged, most of the more than 180 CDEM Controllers in New Zealand have limited or unclear options for specialised development.

A robust CDEM Controllers development programme is therefore required to enable CDEM Controllers to have confidence in their own abilities, for CDEM Groups to have confidence in their Controllers and to equip Controllers to perform to a consistent and effective standard.

With this in mind, MCDEM is currently seeking proposals from suitably qualified learning and development providers to design, develop and provide a capability development programme for CDEM Controllers.

The programme, aimed to be rolled out in the second half of 2014, will include an element of pre-course learning, a residential course to offer a face-face learning phase, followed by individualised post-course continued development. After successful completion of the programme, the aim is to have individuals accredited as CDEM Controllers.

A Request for Quotation (RfQ) for a Controllers Development Programme has been published on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS). The tender closes on February 28, evaluations of responses will be done in March, with contract negotiations starting immediately after. MCDEM will continue to provide regular updates throughout the process.

Contact: MCDEM Team Leader Capability, Grant Morris, (04) 495 6845

CDEM Logistics Director’s Guideline out for consultation in March

Logistics in CDEM is a new Director’s Guideline being developed by MCDEM.  It offers guidance and advice on how to carry out the logistics function before, during and after CDEM responses.  It describes what the logistics function is, how it integrates with the rest of the response centre and what logistics activities the other functions are responsible for.

The draft will be sent to CDEM Groups, local authorities and response agencies for review around 7 March 2014.  Feedback will be required back to MCDEM no later than 2 May 2014.  Please inform anyone within your organisation with the knowledge and interest to review this document about its arrival.

Any queries can be directed to Tane Woodley at MCDEM, Tane.Woodley@dia.govt.nz, (04) 495-6827 or (027) 277-6859.

Review of recovery guidance – do the survey!

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is in the process of reviewing the Recovery Management Director’s Guideline [DGL 4/05] and Focus on Recovery [IS 5/05].

Review of this guidance will enable the development of strengthened arrangements for Recovery. To ensure the guidance adds value to the recovery management planning process your participation in an online survey is now being welcomed.

Register to participate in the survey

If you’re interested in completing the survey or have any questions please contact Sarah Williams, Team Leader, Hazard Risk Management & Analysis, sarah.williams@dia.govt.nz

The survey will close at 5pm, Monday 17 March 2014.

Emergency Radio frequencies update

High Frequency (HF) Radio

As reported in the January e-Bulletin after a recent review of HF radio by MCDEM, the decision has been made not to renew the HF licenses when they expire in March 2014.  Arrangements will be made with the Radio Spectrum Management Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to retain the HF frequencies currently licenced to MCDEM for on-going use by any CDEM Group who wants to retain an HF capability.  Those groups will be gifted the current equipment and infrastructure within their regions but will need to assume responsibility for all licensing and maintenance requirements from 1st April 2014

Those CDEM Groups wishing to decommission their HF radios should follow the process below:

  • Contact your MCDEM Regional Emergency Management Advisor (REMA) to arrange a time for them to collect the radio from your location.
  • MCDEM will cancel all associated licenses with effect from 1 April 2014. 
  • Groups are free to dispose of any remaining items associated with the installation.

Changes to VHF ES Band license Fees

Currently, ES band repeater and simplex frequencies are licenced to MCDEM and the cost is recovered from CDEM organisations.   Repeater frequencies incur an annual fee of $255.55.

Licences for 2014/15 are due for renewal by MCDEM, 31March 2014 and as usual these costs are then recovered from each CDEM organisation through the Department of Internal Affairs.

Work is currently underway to change the coverage of repeater licences to “All NZ” instead of the specific locations that they currently cover. These new licenses will cost $511.11 per year and can have any number of sites or locations listed on them. This means that organisations requiring additional channels in the ES band will now only have to pay for Licensing Engineer to do the crafting for a license location.

This change to the manner in which licences are registered will simplify frequency management and produce a reduction in fees for organisations. 
It is intended that the annual fee ($511.11) for each channel will be divided equally across the number of organisations who have been allocated the right to use it.

Currently there are 29 repeater channels used by CDEM. Records show that based on the existing 114 sites the licence fee will reduce to around $130 each.

For simplex channels, there will be no change to the existing fee structure where organisations pay an amount of $255.55 regardless of the number of frequencies allocated. 

For further information contact Regional Emergency Management Advisor, John Lovell,  john.lovell@dia.govt.nz  phone 027 438 2694

New Team Leader for MCDEM’s Capability Team

Grant Morris

We would like to welcome Grant Morris to MCDEM as the new Team Leader Capability in the Capability and Operations Unit.

Grant has come to us from the New Zealand Army, where he served for 23 years. During that time he fulfilled various command, instructional, and staff roles, in many picturesque locations around New Zealand.

Starting out originally as a transport officer, Grant’s career later branched into organisational and leader development for the NZDF. Grant has deployed three times on combat operations: the Sinai, Egypt in 1999, East Timor in 2000/01, and Afghanistan in 2006/07. Grant continues to serve in the Army Reserve.

Grant is no stranger to CDEM, having been seconded into the NCMC for a period following the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

He holds a Bachelor of Defence Studies degree, a Master of Arts (with Honours) degree in Defence and Strategic Studies, and a Master of Training and Development degree.

Grant is married with a blended tribe of four teenagers. A keen motorcyclist, Grant is the Assistant Director of the Wellington Chapter of the Harley Owners Group. Grant is also a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand.

Volunteering New Zealand’s contribution to emergency management

Volunteering NZ logo

The country’s civil defence emergency management area is an important area where volunteers make an important contribution in their local communities.

Each year New Zealand promotes National Volunteer Week (NVW), which is the country’s largest celebration of volunteering and civic participation.  This ensures that the work of volunteers is recognised and valued. 

This year’s celebration is between 15 and 21 June 2014; the theme is ‘Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata’ meaning ‘With your contribution and my contribution the people will live’. 

This theme promotes cooperation as the way forward.  It also suggests that through pooling our ideas, skills, knowledge and experience respecting everyone, we will get a better result and all will benefit.

Every day volunteers contribute to New Zealand society through search and rescue, health care, victim support, and social services, contributing through a diverse network of people.  
How can you and your organisation be involved in National Volunteer Week?

If you would like to know more about the National Volunteer Week and Volunteering New Zealand, visit us at www.volunteeringnz.org.nz or at our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/VolunteeringNZ

Volunteer Service Abroad assists disaster management

Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office has instituted a ground-breaking disaster response tool, with support from Volunteer Service Abroad’s Simon Donald. Simon, on assignment with the NDMO, had an all-encompassing brief to strengthen backbone communications tools, such as HF radio, while embracing new cellphone technology.

Previously, alerts were broadcast through the public radio network. The NDMO established a short code emergency number allowing people to easily receive disaster warnings and alerts by texting in.
The text message service was harder to set up than a phone-in service, Simon says, but is better in a country where cellphone reception often can’t support a call, and requires less staffing.

It’s an information-gathering tool, too. Following a disaster, Community Disaster Committees carry out impact assessments. The results are sent using a short code corresponding to the type and location of the impact. Using the open-source crisis mapping platform Ushahidi, the SMS system creates a map to guide the need for response efforts.

The NDMO has had successful trials of the short-code system in simulation exercises with community workshops, though Simon notes he’s pleased there’s been no real-world need for it yet.

MCDEM regional contacts


John Titmus: 09 362 5172 or john.titmus@dia.govt.nz

Greg Gallop: 09 362 5173 or greg.gallop@dia.govt.nz

Suzanne Vowles: 09 263 0163 or suzanne.vowles@dia.govt.nz

Jane Rollin: 09 362 5175 or jane.rollin@dia.govt.nz


Ian Wilson: 04 495 6820 or ian.wilson@dia.govt.nz

Keith Evans: 04 495 6837 or keith.evans@dia.govt.nz

Andrew Hickey: 04 495 6822 or andrew.hickey@dia.govt.nz


John Lovell: 027 438 2694 or john.lovell@dia.govt.nz

Simon Chambers: 027 443 2856 or simon.chambers@dia.govt.nz

Peter Cameron: 021 687 995 or peter.cameron@dia.govt.nz