Emergency preparation and support
New Zealand is at risk from range of natural hazards. This page includes information on what support is available for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau before, during and after an emergency event.
Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, is a support agency under the Aotearoa New Zealand Civil Defence legislation. This means we support lead agencies that have the responsibility for leading an emergency response and recovery.
Accessible information for emergencies
Get Ready has accessible formats including Large Print, audio and NZSL providing information on the following:
- Emergency preparedness in New Zealand external URL
- Resources for disabled people external URL
- Storms external URL
- Floods external URL
- Landslides external URL
- Mental Health external URL
During an emergency
If your life, health or property are in danger please call 111 immediately. You can text if you are registered for the 111 text service. Learn about registering for the 111 text service external URL .
For up to date information on current emergencies across New Zealand visit the Civil Defence Website external URL and Civil Defence Facebook page. external URL You can also find local information through your local Civil Defence Group.
If you depend on power for medical equipment, life support, or medicine, this is what you need to do:
- Contact your power company and let them know.
- Contact your local civil defence centre external URL for support.
- If you are in danger, please contact emergency services immediately and call 111. If registered, you can do this via the 111 text line.
As power begins to come back on, it’s important to stay safe and protect yourself from potential fire hazards. Switch off all light switches, power outlets and cooking appliances in a power cut and check for any damage before you switch things back on.
Wellbeing and mental health
After natural disasters and times of uncertainty it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, distressed, and uneasy. Support is available, so please reach out if you or your whānau need it.
A range of services are available to help support your mental health and wellbeing:
- Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- Call the Depression Helpline at 0800 111 757 or text 4204 external URL to talk to a trained counsellor
- Contact YouthLine by calling 0800 376 633, text 234 external URL or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Lowdown is a text support service at 5626 external URL for young people to help recognise and understand depression or anxiety
- Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for health advice and information
Key Insurance information
Key information about insurance:
- Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
- If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company
- Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims
Further support is available through these organisations:
- New Zealand Claims Resolution Service
- Storm, flood and landslip damage: Toka Tū Ake EQC
Insurance Council of New Zealand
Find important recovery and insurance advice on the Insurance Council of New Zealand website external URL
Funding for people impacted by extreme weather
Work and Income
There are a range of supports available through Work and Income for those affected by unexpected events, including the extreme weather events in 2023. These include:
- Help for those impacted by North Island Floods external URL
- Help for those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle external URL
- Hardship Assistance – Special Needs Grants external URL
Grant writing support
Hui E! helps small community groups apply for funding and grants. It matches groups with a volunteer grant writer.
Check out the Hui E! website external URL for more information.
Voice of disabled people in recovery planning
Whaikaha worked with the Disabled Persons Coalition and the New Zealand Disability Support Network to agree on a structure that enables disabled people to participate in recovery planning at the local level.
Recovery is locally led, regionally enabled and nationally supported. Recovery planning has been done at the regionally enabled level, and recovery actions implemented at this level. Therefore the groups formed in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay are operating at the regional level. The groups represent the voice and aspirations of disabled people in recovery activities.