The NZ Shakeout happened yesterday at 9.26am and 19,739 Rotorua people from schools, government organisations, businesses, community groups and emergency services all stopped what they were doing, took cover under their desks and tables and covered their heads, rehearsing the steps needed to be taken to prevent injury in the case of a major earthquake.
The Tree House on Ranolf Childcare Centre was one of the 367 groups in the drill. Twenty-five children from the centre aged 5 and under were sitting on the mat and listening to the radio for their cue to be "turtle safe". As the alarm sounded, the kids all got into a ball and covered their heads with their hands, a technique they practised at least once a month.
Teacher Angela Tetenburg said the children had been learning the turtle safe technique for a few months.
"They've been learning you have to cover your head because doctors can fix your fingers, not your heads."
When asked about what they were doing, the children all had prompt responses.
Vanessa Liang, 4, said she had to stop, drop, hold and cover. She and the other children said being turtle safe was fun, while Charlee Wilkinson, 4, said she had to cover her head because things would fall and hurt her and "the ground cracks open".
Isla Verdonk-Brough, 5, agreed with Charlee's assessment, saying "the ground cuts in half", while Aron Peque, 4, said the ceilings and big books could fall down and land on your head.
Malfroy School also took part in the drill. Library manager Shirley Lane said a class of 5-year-olds was in the library at 9.26am and they remembered how to drop and take cover.
Waiariki Institute of Technology communications manager Craig Tiriana said staff and students at the Rotorua, Tokoroa, Taupo and Whakatane campuses took part in the drill, amounting to thousands of people.