Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL4. More information.

Foxton Beach, Manawatu exercise September 2015

The scenario

The scenario for this exercise was that an unknown source of oil had been spotted about 15 nautical miles off the coast of Wanganui by an Air New Zealand pilot. Calculations conducted by the oil spill responders in the room estimated the spill was approximately 2 tonnes in size and was following a trajectory that would bring the oil ashore at the mouth of the Manawatu River near Foxton beach.

The process

Hayley and Toni worked on the wildlife component of the exercise within the planning team. They were aiming to test the regional oil spill plan by establishing:

  • who needed to be notified of the spill
  • what animals were of immediate risk of being oiled
  • what could be at risk in the next 24 hours if the oil was to reach shore and enter the river mouth
  • what were the best wildlife response options
  • the key wildlife messages for the Regional On Scene Commander to deliver to responders and the general public


Hayley and Toni were able to establish the animals at risk and priority locations to protect in the event of the oil reaching shore. They provided input into the Action Plan developed for the next 24-48 hours of the spill scenario.

Their inputs identified the wildlife objectives and tasks that needed to be undertaken in the next 24-48 hours to achieve a desirable endpoint for the incident.

The exercise was a great opportunity for Hayley to work in her local region. In addition, the scenario was developed to correspond quite closely to an actual oil spill incident that occurred at Foxton Beach in June, 2015. This exercise gave the opportunity for all responders to reflect on their decisions at the time of the actual incident and to further develop and built the response capability in the team.