Responding to Emergencies


Emergencies can take many forms: storms, wildfire, landslide and, of course, earthquakes are the usual list.  To which can now be added, pandemics. Community resilience is essential when the emergency services are overwhelmed by the scale of the event; and in particular if the utilities we take for granted are disrupted: power, water, sewage, roads, communication networks.  

The big event we have to plan for in this context is the ‘AF8’: Queenstown Lakes District being hit by an Alpine Fault magnitude 8 earthquake, said to be now overdue (the last one was in 1717).  Such an earthquake will likely cause catastrophic damage to our environment, our housing and the services  on which we rely.  We have to assume that Kelvin Peninsula will probably be cut off and phones , fresh water, electricity and sewerage will not work, many residences will not be habitable.  There will be insufficient resources within the Queenstown Lakes District area to provide immediate help.   We need to plan, as a local community, to be self sufficient for at least two weeks, maybe more, before outside help can assist.  

Getting Organised

So, we, as residents of the Peninsula need to be organised as best as possible to care for our families and neighbours during the period following a major earthquake when outside help may not be available: for at least two weeks, if not  longer.  There are several components to such community resilience: information about our neighbourhood; a communication network that does not rely on mobile phones or broadband; means of communicating with the emergency authorities; the ability to run a community centre of emergency response operations and to work with civil defence centres which might provide welfare services to our residents in need. We need to know who the vunerable members of our community are, who has skills that can help and who has resources that can be shared.  Knowing this we can better plan for AF8 whilst enjoying  “Our Place in the Sun

Household information database

The first step in this is to gather information about: who lives here on the Peninsula; who might be vulnerable in the context of an AF8 disruption; what resources we have within the community that could be vital to helping our families and vulnerable residents.

In August 2020 KPCA Emergency Response Group launched GetsReady, a web-based application, which was developed out of emergency response experiences from the Christchurch earthquakes. For a description of the system and in particular the privacy aspects of GetsReady visit the information page.

The Kelvin Peninsula is now part of the Otago GetsReady system where you can register your household address, your needs during an emergency, resources you have that you could share and skill sets which would be of help to the community in an emergency.  We encourage you to sign up: the more households who register, the better the assistance that can be provided in an emergency.

What you need to do now

First, register with Getsready at:

Secondly, read two important documents.  The first of these was prepared specifically for our community on the Peninsula. The Kelvin Peninsula Emergency Preparedness & Response document describes in detail what you need to know and prepare for in the event of an AF8 earthquake in our region.  The second document is the Community Emergency Response Plan, for the Kelvin Peninsula and Jack’s Point and covers earthquakes, storms, wildfires and landslides.

Community network

Given the topography of the Peninsula, we have divided the area into eleven zones or “localities”.  Each locality has a volunteer coordinator(s) who will get to know their local neighbours.  In the event of an emergency the coordinator(s) will assess the needs of their neighbours and report back to the operations hub at the Croquet Club at Jardine Park.  Detail of the localities can be found here. The localities are the same as the “Road Groups” used in the GetsReady site.

This in an on-going project – the AF8 could happen anytime in the next 50 years –  and new volunteers are always welcome.

Civil Defence Centres

Depending on the type of emergency, facilities to support individuals, families/whanau and the community, including the delivery of welfare services, may be located at the Queenstown Golf Club, at the end to the Peninsula, and the Lakeland Park Christian Camp, 496 Peninsula Road.