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Tsunami warning system tested after fault

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/09/2016

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence is running tests of its tsunami text alert system after dozens of people signed up to the service didn't get a warning following this month's 7.1-magnitude North Island quake.

A tremor on the East Cape caused a 30cm tsunami and had people heading for high ground at the start of September - although there were no reports of major damage or injuries.

But Civil Defence says a technical failure meant not everyone that registered for a text-message tsunami warning system ended up getting a text.

"Our service provider has confirmed both how this occurred and the steps now implemented within their organisation to ensure it does not re-occur," Bay of Plenty Civil Defence group controller Clinton Naude said.

"A subsequent investigation identified the system upgrade recently undertaken by our service provider had not captured all registered numbers as expected."

He said 42 complaints had been received.

The area's text alert system will be tested on Thursday at 10am to confirm it's now working properly.

Civil Defence came under fire after the incident, with some saying it took too long to issue a tsunami warning and calls to let seismological service GeoNet issue warnings itself.

But Civil Defence said the response time had been misrepresented and the event had been "complex".

"We're confident in our processes and acted as we should have done," a spokeswoman said.

The government is currently reviewing emergency warning systems as part of a larger project.

Aftershocks have been rattling the area since the magnitude 7.1 quake, with Geonet last week saying there was a 10 per cent chance a magnitude 7.0 to 7.9 would hit the area in the next 30 days.

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