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Whenua tikokitanga

Land instability and slope hazards

Landslides have occurred in Tauranga after heavy rainfall and storm events. They can also be triggered by earthquakes, with homes near hills or steep slopes most at risk.

Latest updates

Updated slope hazard and new landslide susceptibility maps have recently been completed for Tauranga City. 

A slope hazard map identifies areas where there is existing, or the potential for, instability of the slope. It is usually based on the relationship between slope height and angle, and also identifies areas which may become inundated by a landslide. 

Landslide susceptibility describes the relative likelihood of future landsliding in an area based on underlying properties, such as local terrain, geological and hydrological conditions. It does not identify areas that may be come inundated by landslides.
Further information on the maps can be found below.

More on slope hazard maps

More on landslide susceptibility maps

Instructions for seeing and exploring slope hazards relative to your property. (436kb pdf)

Slopes in Tauranga are susceptible to landslides due to a combination of steep slopes and sensitive volcanic soils. Tauranga experienced rainfall-induced landslides following a series of storms during 1979, the May 2005 storm, ex-tropical cyclones Debbie and Cook in April 2017 and the 2023 Auckland Anniversary weekend floods.

Terms such as “landslip”, “slippage” and “falling debris” are used to refer to landslide-type features in New Zealand regulations and codes like the Building Act 2004, the Resource Management Act 1991 and the EQC Act 1993. You may also see the terms “landslide” or “slip” used too.


Landslides following the 18 May 2005 storm (Source: supplied)

Landslide research

We have been researching landslides in Tauranga for some time with the study outputs forming the basis of planning rules relating to landslide hazards and landslide management measures incorporated into the TCC Infrastructure Development Code (IDC). Studies are available on the New Zealand Geotechnical Society website.

Land instability on the Maungatapu Peninsula

Living on a sloping property

If you have a sloping property, make sure you know how the slope and surrounding buildings and structures might be affected in the event of heavy rain, storms, earthquakes or other natural disasters.

If you live near a hill or steep slope, watch for cracks or movement that could be a warning sign. Make sure any retaining walls are well maintained and look around to see if neighbouring retaining walls or slopes could affect your property. 

Take occasional photographs of your slopes and retaining walls and compare the photos over time, especially after heavy rainfall, flooding or an earthquake.

Check EQC's land cover page or discuss with your private insurer to make sure that damage to retaining walls from a disaster will be covered by insurance.

EQC's 'Householders' guide to EQCover' brochure

What to do in a landslide

Getting out of the path of a landslide is your best protection!

  • In the event of an imminent or actual landslide, evacuate, warn your neighbours, call emergency services (111) and stay away until authorities give the all-clear.
  • Call us on (07) 577 7000 to see how we can help.
  • Call your insurer and EQC
  • Seek advice from a qualified Engineering Geologist or Geotechnical Engineer see our list of accredited geo-professionals.

Accredited geo-professionals List (379kb pdf)

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