People on the coast should run for high ground if they feel a quake strong enough that they cannot stand, or which lasts for more than one minute.
This advice came from GNS Science in 2013, following a major review of the tsunami hazard (http://goo.gl/Yulcgz). Findings show that a tsunami generated nearby could strike before an official warning was issued. The report also shows that such a tsunami could be up to 50% larger than was formerly believed. At least one such event is likely to occur in our lifetime. There have been about 10 tsunamis higher than 5m since 1840. “Some were caused by distant earthquakes, but most by seafloor quakes not far off the coast” (http://goo.gl/JHtxpi).
The most hazardous places to be are Northland, Great Barrier, the Wairarapa and parts of the East Cape. In these areas waves may reach 15m above the sea level at the shoreline. The risk by location is shown here: http://goo.gl/ui4MUe. There is good general advice on what to do before, during and after a tsunami on the Civil Defence website here: http://goo.gl/DgWSUy (with 8 different language versions). So, what’s your plan? Here’s a poster you may find useful for discussion and display purposes: http://goo.gl/gBFALG.