Disasters - New Zealand

Image: Former site of Java, Christchurch CBD by Geoff Wilson on Flickr

We have selected these online resources to support you when you need information relating to disasters in New Zealand. SCIS 1525117

See also Earth science - Volcanoes; Earth science - Tsunami; Disasters - Natural; Disasters – Preparedness; Extreme weather

Digital NZ

Digital NZ has sets that cover some of the New Zealand disasters. Use the keyword disasters in the search box.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary


These pages include a timeline of New Zealand disasters as well as detailed information on the Tangiwai, Wahine, Erebus disasters, and the 1918 influenza epidemic. The images, video and sound are useful for younger students.

Suggested level: intermediate, secondary

Erebus story

The story of the loss of flight TE901 on Mt Erebus in Antarctica. The ‘Schools Section’ has information for primary and intermediate students.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary


To discover information on the school work site ManyAnswers use the search term ‘New Zealand disasters’. Alternatively, try the name of the individual disaster in the search box.

Suggested level: secondary

Ministry of Civil Defence Photo Library

This visual resource includes: photographs of floods, earthquakes, extreme weather, landslides, tsunami and volcanic lahars. You can use and copy these images for educational purposes.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

New Zealand Disasters

Information at an easy reading level about most of New Zealand's well-known disasters. You can access information about each disaster through a linked map of New Zealand, a timeline, an alphabetical list of disasters, and disaster categories.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate

New Zealand onscreen

Film clips available on New Zealand disasters, for example Wahine Disaster, Tarawera eruption, Erebus disaster, Ballantynes fire, and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary

Te Ara

Te Ara, The online Encyclopedia of New Zealand, has information on air crashes, railway accidents and ship wrecks in New Zealand and lists mining tragedies. There is a comprehensive section on natural disasters and hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Highlights include images, video clips and audio clips, as well as personal stories of New Zealanders' experiences of disasters.

Suggested level: primary, intermediate, secondary


The  Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre provides information about New Zealand disasters. Search for the specific disasters on the database. A school log-on and password is required.

Suggested level: intermediate, secondary


Have you thought about using fiction with your class to support your topic? The following are some suggestions for your students (and you!) to read and enjoy.

Wahine disaster, by Shirley Corlett, 2013 (fiction)
Journey to Tangiwai: Tangiwai 1953, by David Hill, 2010 (fiction)

Cyclone Bola 1988.mov WairoaNet.  Youtube 3.57

Erebus Disaster. First film. TV New Zealand. Youtube 4.46

The floods 2004.Horizons RC. Youtube 4.30.

New Zealand tornado – Auckland tornado December 2012 – 3 people killed. Mr Viral News. Youtube 1.03

Tangiwai Disaster. Auckland Museum. Youtube 1.37