At least 30,000 people in Rotorua are still unprepared for a big earthquake says Rotorua District Council emergency management co-ordinator Pauline Hitchcock.
Mrs Hitchcock said Saturday's magnitude 5.7 quake near Turangi, felt in Rotorua and throughout the North Island, was a timely reminder that a big quake could happen anywhere. "If nothing happens in your area for a while people think it's not going to happen. It's not forefront in people's minds," she said.
"Maybe we need one like this where nobody gets hurt as a reminder event."
She said a National Research Bureau survey of Rotorua households this year showed a slight reduction in the number of homes with an emergency survival kit and a similar decrease in households with an emergency plan. percentages had risen every year since 2004 but dropped back this year to 49 per cent (with a survival kit) and 48 per cent (with an emergency plan).
Mrs Hitchcock said while that was above the national average, it meant 30,000-35,000 residents were unprepared for a big one.
She said there were three things people should always have ready in case of emergency. Firstly, a survival kit for use in the event their home was left without power or water. Secondly, an emergency plan - who will pick up the children, where to leave messages, what radio station to turn on and, finally, a "grab and go" kit in case they had to evacuate. GeoNet seismologist Lara Bland said Saturday's quake did not mean future shakes in the region were any more or less likely than before.
"It's just another day, another earthquake. It's just New Zealand," she said.
She said the Turangi quake was unrelated to the widely-felt magnitude 7 that struck near Opunake on Tuesday.
"The distances are too great for one to have affected the strains of the other," she said.
While many in Turangi took to social media and message boards to discuss the quake, some describing it as "huge", several others said they didn't even feel it. That didn't surprise Ms Bland.
"On our maps [of earthquakes felt], there is a big empty space around Turangi. Sometimes it actually feels weaker to those closer to it," she said.
She said that was because the tectonic plate was dipping under the North Island, so energy travelled back up the plate following the easiest path available, to the east.
Visit www.getthru.govt.nz for advice on preparing for an emergency.