By JO SEDDON
A NEWLY-discovered section of
faultline running around Martinborough is
unlikely to be an immediate danger, but people
should be well prepared for the worst scenario,
Russ Van Dissen, a geologist with the
Geological and Nuclear Sciences Institute and
co-author of a study into faults around the
Wellington region, said Martinborough's fault
only moves at a rate of about .5mm a year.
"This would make it a turtle, compared
with the Wairarapa or Wellington faults, which
would be horses, and the alpine fault in the
South Island, which would be a cheetah," he
"The Wairarapa fault slips at a rate of
5mm to 10mm a year and in fact this one gave us
the biggest quake New Zealand has seen since the
arrival of the European.
"That was in 1855 and measured about 8 on
the Richter scale. It was a whopper."
The Martinborough fault runs from White Rock
to where the rubbish tip is sited and then in a
northeasterly-southwesterly direction around the
outskirts of the town, underneath the Palliser
The fault is a few kilometres under the
surface and is about 1km from the town centre.
"But you can see it most clearly at the
rubbish dump," Dr Van Dissen said.
"The river terraces are warped into a
small fold and in the relatively young rock,
which is about 30,000 years old."
The last movement on the fault was probably a
few thousand years ago, he said.
South Wairarapa emergency management officer
Bill Gibson said people are now responsible for
their own preparations and are expected to be
self-sufficient for a minimum of three days.
This includes having a survival pack of a
transistor radio with spare batteries, a torch,
warm clothes, a first aid kit and enough water
for at least two litres a day for everyone in the
The water stays fresh for about six months in
containers and these should be stored in the dark
and renewed regularly.
Survival kits should be stored away from the
house, preferably in an outside shed, or
somewhere where people won't have to scrabble
through ruined houses to get them, Mr Gibson
Another important item to keep up to date is
People should never let their medication fall
below a week's supply because if a big quake
comes pharmacists are going to have their
supplies cut off.
Having plans to get families back together is
"A major difficulty for Wairarapa is that
we have about 800 people going to Wellington
every day and it will be difficult for them to
get back," he said.
Mr Gibson said he knows of one person who
works in Wellington and has a survival kit,
including warm clothes and tramping boots, in a
pack at work.
"They are planning to walk to Seatoun
where a friend has a small boat. From there it is
a trip around the coast and a long walk
home," he said.
Tsunamis are also a danger for Wairarapa and
Mr Gibson said although they will probably only
happen once in 1500 years, it could be tomorrow.