Hipaua slip - Little Waihi

Landslide at Hipaua, Little Waihi, in September 2010.

A landslide is the movement of rock and soil 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 rain, floods or earthquake shaking 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.

Before a landslide

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.

Be alert when driving especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.

Check for signs that the ground may be moving. These signs include:

  • Sticking doors and window frames
  • Gaps where frames are not fitting properly
  • Decks and verandahs moving or tilting away from the rest of the house
  • New cracks or bulges on the ground, road or footpath
  • Leaning trees, retaining walls or fences
  • Water springs, seeps or waterlogged ground in areas that are not usually wet 

If you think a landslide is about to happen

You will need to know how to respond immediately:

  1. 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.
  2. Warn neighbours who might be affected and help those who may need assistance to evacuate.
  3. Contact emergency services and your local council to inform them of the hazard.

After a landslide

Do not return to a site that has been affected by a landslide until it has been properly inspected.

Take photographs and notes for insurance purposes when it is safe to do so.