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Civil Defence Emergency Management

Cyclone Gabrielle

As our clean-up from Cyclone Gabrielle is still in progress, we wanted to check in and see how you’re doing. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious after a severe weather event and please know that you’re not alone.
There are some great services available across the motu and in our region that can assist with rural recovery, Civil Defence payments, clean up support or if you’re just needing someone to chat with.
Check out the links listed below for contacts and useful info:

 All the links above and more information can be found on our website at


Civil Defence

Civil Defence is not an organisation as such, but a system of coordinating emergency management. It's a way communities, organisations and government work together to get ready and get through an emergency. In this way, we are all Civil Defence.

Civil Defence professionals are here to coordinate the emergency services, welfare service agencies, utility companies and the community during an emergency. But because you are Civil Defence too, you need to make sure you can take care of yourself and people you care about when there is an emergency.


Matamata-Piako Civil Defence Emergency Management

Our Council has a duty under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 to provide Civil Defence and Emergency Management services within its boundaries and ensure that it is able to function to the fullest possible extent, even though this may be at a reduced level, during and after an emergency.

Our staff receive training to form the Emergency Response Team. These response staff have been trained in Emergency Management, Emergency Operations Centre & Welfare Centre operations and are ready to respond at any time.

We are also a part of the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group which includes ten other local authorities within the Waikato Region. This group provides guidance, hazard information, strategic support and operational advice to our council during, before and after an emergency. Find out more about the group on the Waikato Civil Defence Group website.


Get Ready, Get Thru

Disasters can happen quickly, and we can’t prevent them but there are steps everyone can take to reduce their impact and recover quickly. It is important to know what you must do before you have to do it.

In some cases, such as a weather related or volcanic disaster, there may be time for a warning. But an earthquake or a tsunami close to land could strike without warning.

All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives. So it's vital that you prepare now.

For more information including information on how to get ready go to the Get Ready Website


What to do in an emergency

Many disasters will affect essential services and possibly disrupt your ability to travel or communicate with each other. You may be confined to your home, or forced to evacuate your neighbourhood. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, emergency services will not be able to get help to everyone as quickly as needed.

This is when you are likely to be most vulnerable. So it is important to plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more in the event of a disaster.

Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and storms can strike at any time, sometimes without warning. All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives.

You can learn about the hazards that affect us in the Matamata-Piako District and in the Waikato Region on the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Website.


Where to find information in an emergency

In a local emergency we will use the following channels to keep you informed:


Fire Safety

Fire safety is everyone's business. Find out more about keeping your friends, family and colleagues safe from fire here.

Our Council no longer issues fire permits, this is the responsibility of Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Go to their website if you wish to apply for afire permit. 


Warning sirens and evacuation points

There are no Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) warning sirens (for evacuations, earthquakes, tsunami or volcano) in Matamata-Piako District, the following are the National Emergency Management Agency systems used to advise of hazards:

Emergency Mobile Alert – These alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised agencies (CDEM, Police, Fire etc) to capable mobile phones. The alerts are designed to keep people safe and are broadcast to all capable phones from targeted cell towers. The alerts can be targeted to areas affected by serious hazards and will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health or property and occasionally for test purposes.

Red Cross Hazards app - Download the app to get emergency alerts, including weather warnings and pre-loaded guides in case you lose mobile coverage . You can also send I AM SAFE messages for friends and family, monitor up to five locations (such as the home, bach and kids at uni) and view step-by-step guides to assembling emergency survival items, making a getaway kit and creating a household emergency plan.  

The Matamata Piako District Council Emergency Management Officer is reviewing buildings capable of being Civil Defence Centres (used in an emergency event to provide information and welfare services to our community). Buildings need to be evaluated on a number of factors i.e. capacity, fire safety, generator capability, number of amenities etc so that in an emergency event particularly if displaced people require temporary shelter that the capacity is there. Currently three Council owned facilities; Matamata-Piako Civic and Memorial Centre, Events Centre in Morrinsville and the Silver Fern Farms Event Centre in Te Aroha are identified as options. There are other venues that may be considered but if privately owned they are dependent on agreement/arrangement with owners. For any event Civil Defence Emergency Management will advise of the Civil Defence Centre to be opened and which locality would safely and best service the community involved. Announcement of a Civil Defence Centre opening would be made through various avenues i.e. Council's mobile phone app ‘Antenno’, Facebook page and/or radio announcements etc advising the community.

Schools and halls are no longer evacuation points and all signage (warden post) have been removed. It depends on what the emergency event is as to if/where CDEM would direct people to, as we do not want people automatically going to a pre-defined place as it may not be safe. As first option, if it is safe Civil Defence Emergency Management advise people to shelter in place (i.e. your home, your neighbours). In a big event it could be days until help can get to everyone so that is why it is recommended people have supplies (water, food, medication, pet food etc) to be self-sufficient for three days.

Local halls and schools still have a place in an emergency event just not as Civil Defence Centre for displaced people as most do not have sufficient amenities/resources for large groups as people may need to shelter for up to two weeks until temporary accommodation for all can be sourced. Civil Defence Emergency Management also have to be able to provide trained staff to run a Civil Defence Centres so need to concentrate resources (trained staff and equipment) to larger capacity centres for efficient use of available resources. Local halls and schools, if safe, are great for local communities that may want to initiate getting together (community-led centre) to check up on each other to talk, offer support and identify any needs within their community.