Earthquakes in the Waikato

Plate boundaryNew Zealand straddles the boundary between two tectonic plates - the Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate. These plates are moving towards each other by about 50 mm per year. This movement can be felt as tremors in the Waikato region.

Active faults in the Waikato region

There are three large active faults considered 'risky' in the Waikato region:

  • The Kerepehi Fault - extending along the Thames Estuary and the Hauraki Plains.
  • The Rangipo Fault - on the eastern side of Mount Ruapehu.
  • The Wairoa North Fault - running along the Bombay Hills north-east of Mercer.

There have been long gaps between earthquakes in the Waikato region. The area between Taupo and Rotorua is the most vulnerable part of our region for earthquakes. It contains many active fault lines running in a north-east direction.

Earthquake hazard zones

The Waikato region has many active fault lines that increase the chance of earthquakes. About 20 per cent of the region’s population live on soils prone to movement during earthquakes. Visit the Waikato Regional Council's Regional Hazards and Emergency Management webpage to find out more.

Back to main earthquake page.