Risks quite low, as Dunedin not tsunamigenic, Civil Defence told

A once-in-2500 year event will be required for a tsunami to threaten Dunedin, Dunedin City Council civil defence manager Neil Brown says.

Research by GNS Science carried out after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami flattened parts of Japan showed Dunedin was not ''tsunamigenic'', Mr Brown told those at a meeting of the Civil Defence emergency management group yesterday.

''[Tsunamis are a] relatively low risk and reasonably low consequence event for Dunedin compared to a lot of other parts of New Zealand,'' he said.

The main areas of concern were near river and harbour mouths and estuaries, but those areas were not densely populated in Dunedin, he said.

The ''prime risk'' for the city was a tsunami generated by a South American earthquake, but such an event would give authorities hours to evacuate areas that could be affected, he said.

''We could go and knock on all the doors of the houses around there before that hits,'' he said.

The research showed Niwa's earlier modelling gave an accurate picture of tsunami risk in the area.

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