Response to extreme weather events

The Ministry property teams are here to support schools through the response and remediation work that may be required.

What to do if your school has suffered damage

Contact your emergency response coordinator (ERC) in the first instance to report any damage. The ERC will arrange to come on site and assess the damage as soon as they can.

Emergency response coordinator contacts

You may also self-assess the damage if it’s not significant. Every school has a Ministry-appointed property advisor. Schools are asked to contact their property advisor if they have damage. Property staff will also contact any school they haven’t heard from. Property staff will visit affected schools, prioritising those with the most damage.

Please use this checklist for guidance on what to look for when assessing damage onsite.

Checking your property after a major incident

Health and safety

Please ensure you are following all health and safety guidelines. Key information is detailed below. If you need further guidance, please email your regional property team.

Property team contact information

Floodwater contamination

All floodwater and debris deposited by floodwater (such as silt) will be contaminated with bacteria and viruses of soil, animal and/or human origin.

The level of risk will be generally low unless there has been wastewater contamination, however we recommend you assume the floodwater has been contaminated and treat it as such.

We recommend that you:

  • Restrict access to any flooded and/or ponded areas until they have dried out thoroughly
  • Remove all debris and rubbish where practicable for off-site disposal
  • Wear gloves and boots or gumboots when removing debris, washing or disinfecting  
  • Exposure to wind and sun is normally sufficient to disinfect flooded fields, gardens and porous playing areas, however if wastewater contamination is evident from the debris or smell, apply hydrated lime to affected unsealed playing areas and leave for 24hrs before washing in
  • Wash internal or external hard surfaces floors / walls with detergent or clean water and allow to dry 
  • Follow hygiene best practice around hand washing and contact with food.
  • Disinfect internal and external play areas where possible before re-use, focusing on surfaces students may touch. Disinfectants to be used include:
    • Chlorine bleach – plain and unscented. 1 litre of household bleach to 4 litres warm water. Do not use on vinyl or aluminium.
    • Quaternary Ammonium Based Disinfectants – NEVER mix with bleach
    • Borax (5% to 10%) mixed with dishwashing detergents. Use for wooden surfaces that would be damaged by chlorine.

You’re welcome to contact the Ministry’s water services team directly with questions:


  • Open doors and window to help dry out the building as much as possible. Use fans and air conditioners on dry mode if safe to do so.  
  • Clear plant and soil debris away from the buildings to help with ventilation. 

Electrical and gas safety

  • Avoid places where gas or electricity may be a risk and be mindful that, at any time, electrical services may be restored.    
  • Electrical fittings and appliances that have been exposed to water should be treated as unsafe. Don’t touch equipment until advised by an electrician that it’s safe to do so.   
  • If you smell gas vacate the building immediately and call the local gas company, supplier or 111 so the leak can be detected and fixed 
  • If you need to use electrical equipment in a wet area, use a residual current device.

Asbestos management

An asbestos refurbishment survey is needed before removing wall linings for all pre-2000 buildings in New Zealand.

  • The asbestos fibres can be harmful if inhaled, so it is important to identify and safely remove all asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) before any work takes place.
  • The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 require that a refurbishment/demolition survey is carried out before any work that could disturb asbestos.
  • The survey helps building owners and contractors fulfil their legal responsibilities regarding the safe management of ACMs.
  • The survey helps to identify the presence and location of ACMs, allowing for effective risk management and planning of removal or encapsulation.
  • The survey helps to determine the extent of asbestos removal required and to budget for removal costs.
  • A refurbishment survey helps to avoid unexpected delays and additional costs that may arise from the discovery of ACMs during work.
  • The survey helps ensure compliance with New Zealand's asbestos regulations, protecting both workers and building occupants.

See Managing asbestos in schools for more information

Network outages

If you experience network (wifi) outages or problems with your school network or equipment such as routers, access points or modems, please talk to your IT Administrator then contact N4L (Network for Learning) on 0800 532 764 or email

Funding repair and reinstatement of school property

It is important to document the damage before you start to clean up or do repairs, so that we have a full picture of the damage to provide to the Ministry’s insurance company.

In the first instance we will need you to document the following:

  • photos of the damage
  • maps of the damaged buildings (hand-drawn is fine) with descriptions of the damage in each location
  • as much information as possible about the source of the damage (for example, did the water enter the building due to roof failure, due to rising floodwater or both).

Consider what information you will need for your contents insurance claim at the same time. Take lots of photos to document your loss.

Funding and insurance information

School housing

Any affected Ministry housing tenants can report issues to Colliers via the 24 hour help desk at 0800 444 405.

If any tenants are without communication but need to report an issue, any MOE rep on the ground can take their contact details, address, and details of the issue/s and forward this through to

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