New era for Taranaki Civil Defence

Taranaki Civil Defence is putting down deeper roots to help the region prepare for, withstand and recover from the impacts of threats and hazards whose dangers are increasingly evident regionally, nationally and globally.

Civil Defence has boosted staff numbers to deepen its reach into districts and communities, and today adopted a new five-year Group Plan to take it into its new era.

“We’re in a process of transformation,” says the Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Chair, Tom Cloke. “The aim is to work more effectively with communities to make them better able to prepare, to cope and to recover.”

The CDEM Group is made up of the region’s three District Mayors as well as Mr Cloke, a Taranaki Regional Councillor. It decided last year to invest in more staff and to establish emergency operations centres at District Council level to respond to local emergencies.

“We’re reminded on the TV news just about every night that geological, climatic and technological events, or pandemics, can and do have an enormous impact,” says Mr Cloke. “Our region is not immune. We’ve seen for ourselves yet again this year how storms can cause major disruptions. And the volcanic eruptions in Guatemala, Hawaii and Vanuatu highlight how important it is for us to plan for an eruption here – it’s a top priority in the new Group Plan.”

The new Group Plan focuses on the ‘four Rs’ of Civil Defence – risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery. It also takes into account the organisational changes to take effect from 1 July. These include:

  • District Councils identifying key staff to be local controllers and local recovery managers, bringing highly localised knowledge to response and recovery.
  • Continued regional coordination of emergencies, with the oversight of a regional Group Controller
  • Transferring the provision of services such as IT and building management from the Taranaki Regional Council to the New Plymouth District Council, because the CDEM group office is in New Plymouth.
  • Overall governance of and statutory responsibility for the CDEM Group remaining with the Taranaki Regional Council.

The Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2018-2023 is available online here: