Media release

Review of active fault lines and folds in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago

Monday 18 March 2019

The Otago Regional Council will be presented with a report addressing active faults in the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago districts when Councillors meet this Thursday.

The report was prepared by GNS Science for the Council and is primarily an office-based assessment.

It reviews the locations and characteristics of active faults, combining previously collected information with the latest available data. In total, 48 active or potentially active faults were assessed across the two districts.

The review has identified a likely fault under Wanaka, which may be part of the NW Cardrona Fault.  This fault was previously thought to have run northeast from the Cardrona Valley through Albert Town to Hawea. Scientists now consider that the fault runs north past the foot of Mt Alpha and beneath part of Wanaka township.

Otago Regional Council Natural Hazards Analyst Dr Ben Mackey said further work was needed to substantiate the findings and any implications for Wanaka.

“Currently, some of the information we have about these faults dates back several decades,” Dr Mackey said.

“Since that time, technology has greatly improved, as has the scientific understanding of how faults behave. If it is confirmed that an active fault runs under Wanaka, the new information can be incorporated into community resilience planning.”

Chris Hawker, Director of Emergency Management Otago, said earthquakes have always been a feature of the region’s hazard-scape.

“For any event, earthquake, flood or other, we encourage all households and businesses to prepare to cope without electricity for an extended period, and for water and sewerage systems to be out of action.”

For more on how to prepare for an emergency, visit the Emergency Management Otago website  and for help making an emergency plan visit

The ORC and QLDC understand there are likely to be questions that arise from these findings and will be providing further information over the coming weeks.



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