Northland children know how to save themselves in an earthquake - unlike in a fire, they must not run outside but dive under a table.
The region's school pupils were among 1.3 million New Zealanders who practised the Civil Defence-led New Zealand ShakeOut 'Drop, Cover and Hold' emergency drill at 9.26am yesterday.
Room 9 pupils at Hora Hora School in Whangarei scrambled quickly and quietly to get under the tables when the signal came. Teacher Gaylene Goodwin said the class had spent time practising the Civil Defence earthquake drill before the national event.
"It's quite the opposite of our fire drill," Ms Goodwin said. "It's a natural reaction for children to get out of the room. With this, they have to remember that in an earthquake, they stay under the table until the all-clear."
None of the Room 9 pupils have been in an earthquake but, when asked, one raised his hand and said he might be in one at Christmas when he went to stay with his mother in Christchurch.
Whangarei District councillors also took part in the drill during a meeting of the finance and support committee yesterday.
All dropped to the floor and crouched under their desks or covered their heads and necks following a siren and whistle-blow - prompting Councillor Kahu Sutherland to ask, "Are our desks too small?"
WDC Civil Defence coordinator Victoria Randall said she was pleased 27,000 Northlanders had registered for the 'Drop, Cover and Hold' drill.
"We thought that as Northland is a low earthquake risk region, people up here would think it wasn't so important," Ms Randall said.
Workshops to help businesses become earthquake-prepared are next on the agenda.