Anita Trappitt and her family were one of the first families to arrive in Papamoa after the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake.
When the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake struck, Anita was asleep at home in Papamoa when she got a phone call at about 2.30am from her daughter's 12-year-old friend.
“She told us there had been massive earthquakes. They were already at the top of Papamoa Hills and told us we needed to evacuate immediately.
“She's an ex-Cantabrian, we're ex-Cantabrians. It was quite frightening and terrifying for us. We checked our trusty GeoNet to see New Zealand lighting up like a Christmas tree.
“We proceeded to get our kids up and grab our emergency grab-and-go bag to evacuate. It was 10 minutes after that initial phone call when I got my first Civil Defence text, the first text of the evening about 2.40am, saying any coastal areas needed to evacuate immediately.
“We grabbed our dog and all our gear and made it to Te Puke.”
Anita says her children were highly sensitised because of their experience in the Christchurch earthquakes.
“With the fear of further earthquakes and aftershocks, being Cantabrians, we knew it was just the beginning,” says Anita.
“The first earthquake is just the beginning. So we went to my in-laws and stayed in Bethlehem for the night. My daughter had to go to her first NCEA Science exam the next morning. It was a very traumatic experience, we didn't get to sleep until five in the morning and she had to be at her exam at nine o'clock.
“We chose to evacuate. Some people weren't sure whether to take it seriously and chose not to. But having that experience in Christchurch, we weren't going to risk it.
“We just feel that Papamoa needs so much more than just text alerts. So many people didn't get the texts or hear the alerts to wake up. We need sirens so people can evacuate immediately. It's only a few minutes between evacuating to safety and swimming.
“How can we notify all of our thousands of tourists that come to our region that there is a potential life-threatening disaster on its way? There needs to be some way to notify them and get them to safety.”