Landslides are a serious geological hazard throughout much of New Zealand. A landslide is the movement of rock, soil and vegetation down a slope. Landslides can range in size from a single boulder in a rock fall to a very large avalanche of debris with huge quantities of rock and soil that can be spread across many kilometres.

Heavy rainfall or earthquakes can cause a landslide. Human activity, such as removal of trees and vegetation, steep roadside cuttings or leaking water pipes can also cause landslides. Most landslides occur without public warning and it’s important to recognise the warning signs and act quickly.

Before a landslide

Getting ready before a landslide will help reduce damage to your home and business and help you survive.

  • Find out from your council if there have been landslides in your area before and where they might occur again
  • Check for signs that the ground may be moving. See below for a list of warning signs
  • Be alert when driving especially where there are embankments along roadsides. Watch the road for collapsed pavements, mud and fallen rocks.

Landslide Warning Signs


  • Small slips, rock falls and subsidence at the bottom of slopes.
  • Sticking doors and window frames.
  • Gaps where frames are not fitting properly. 
  • Outside fixtures such as steps, decks, and verandahs moving or tilting away from the rest of the house.
  • New cracks or bulges on the ground, road, footpath, retaining walls and other hard surfaces.
  • Tilting trees, retaining walls or fences.

More information on Landslides

Visit the GetReady website for more about landslides.

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