Note: Newer information on this topic is available on the Get Ready website page - Landslides.

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Before a landslide

If you think a landslide is about to happen

After a landslide


Landslides are a serious geological hazard throughout much of New Zealand. A landslide is the movement of rock, soil and vegetation down a slope. Landslides can range in size from a single boulder in a rock fall to a very large avalanche of debris with huge quantities of rock and soil that can be spread across many kilometres.

Heavy rainfall or earthquakes can cause a landslide. Human activity, such as removal of trees and vegetation, steep roadside cuttings or leaking water pipes can also cause landslides. Most landslides occur without public warning and it’s important to recognise the warning signs and act quickly.


Getting ready before a landslide will help reduce damage to your home and business and help you survive.

  • Find out from your council if there have been landslides in your area before and where they might occur again
  • Check for signs that the ground may be moving. 
    See the right-hand panel for a list of warning signs
  • Be alert when driving especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.


Act quickly. Getting out of the path of a landslide is your best protection.

  • Evacuate and take your Getaway Kit with you. Take your pets with you and move livestock to safe paddocks if you can safely do so.
  • Warn neighbours who might be affected and help those who may need assistance to evacuate.
  • Contact emergency services and your local council to inform them of the hazard.


  • Keep in mind that further landslides may occur. Stay away from affected sites until it has been properly inspected and authorities give the all-clear.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
  • If your property or contents are damaged take notes and photographs when it is safe to do so. Contact your insurance company and inform your landlord if there is damage to the rental property.