Civil Defence and Emergency Management

Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) is coordinated by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO). Read below for more on their roles.

Wairarapa has two local WREMO staff who support Civil Defence in the area.

For more information on how you, your family, workplace, business and community can get prepared, and find out about emergencies, go to:


Phone: 0800 239 247 / 0800 CD WAIRARAPA



Do you know where your nearest AED is located? Research has shown that deploying a defibrillator within 3–5 minutes of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 50–70%.
Check out AED Locations NZ and get a mobile app like AED Locations from your App Store.

Useful Resources

Water in an emergency flowchart (PDF, 163KB)
How to Make your Water Safe in an Emergency (PDF, 3MB)

How we respond to an emergency

A well-established structure and process is in place to respond to Civil Defence events and emergencies in Wairarapa – as in all parts of New Zealand.

The legal requirement for the system is set out in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002.

In practice, this means that the Emergency Management Controller is in place at all times. In the Wairarapa, this is currently Steven May, Masterton District Council’s Manager Regulatory Services, with a network of other staff trained as Alternate Controllers from Carterton and South Wairarapa Councils.

They are supported by staff trained in areas such as intelligence, logistics, planning, welfare, and public information management.

The Controller co-ordinates the escalation of a response, depending on whether an event is local in its impact, regional or national.

All members of the Wellington CDEM (Civil Defence Emergency Management) Group – councils, emergency services, lifeline utilities, welfare agencies and NGOs – work together to provide support to communities in times of need.

In the greater Wellington region, this effort is co-ordinated by the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO).

Regular training and exercises are carried out to ensure those involved are ready to respond quicky to events.

The three Wairarapa councils are acutely aware of the need to maintain good communication to the community throughout an emergency event, utilising social media, council websites, and in the case of Masterton District Council, the free Antenno App.

The better prepared people are before an emergency occurs, the less pressure there is likely to be on the official response – which, in a large-scale event, could potentially become overwhelmed.

What would it take to declare a State of Emergency and who does this?

The National Emergency Management Agency sets this process out:

  • This is a legislated process set out in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
  • Emergency Management staff, in consultation with the emergency services, review the situation and the powers they require to manage it – including whether existing legislation is sufficient)
  • If not, the Controller can recommend to the Mayor that they declare a state of emergency
  • Mayors (or Deputies in their absence) can only declare for their district
  • However, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the regional Joint Committee can declare on behalf of more than one district or the region
  • Ron Mark, the Mayor of Carterton, is the Deputy Chair of the Joint Committee.

What local, or national, resources are there to call on in such a situation?

The declaration of a state of emergency confers additional powers on the Controller, such as:

  • Evacuation of premises and places
  • Entry onto premises
  • Closing roads and public places
  • Removal of aircraft, vessels and vehicles
  • Requisitioning powers
  • Give direction
  • Carrying out inspections
  • Entering into contracts

In a state of emergency they can access:

  • Local resources:
    • Any local resources that are available
    • Additional funding through the Mayoral Relief Fund
  • Regional resources:
    • Can request any regional resources that are available (that are not allocated to higher priority areas) eg regional EM staff or regional assets
    • Can request emergency mobile alert (proactive text messaging) to be set to certain geographic areas that are affected or are likely to be affected.
  • National resources:
    • Can request any national resources that are available (that are not allocated to higher priority areas) eg EMAT staff or national assets (NZDF etc)
    • Can access national funding through various national agencies (MSD etc) and NEMA (Local Authority Reimbursement – 100% of welfare costs, 60% for other costs).

How can I prepare?

You can find more useful information on the WREMO website and Facebook about the role households, workplaces and communities can take before an event occurs.

Resources include:

  • Public preparedness messaging – available on WREMO website (Home Ready, Work Ready, Community Ready)
  • Community Emergency Hubs (fixed locations)
  • Emergency Assistance Centres – at variable locations, event dependent
  • Emergency Operations Centre for all three council areas – Masterton
  • Regular training and exercises using various scenarios
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