Developers' timezone fail woke half of New Zealand

Wee small hours civil defence wake-in-fright text arrives on Vodafone mobes

A time-zone mixup has resulted in about half of all New Zealanders being woken by civil defence and emergency management authorities sending a test text message overnight.

The victims were all subscribers to Vodafone, which has roughly 2.4 million mobile customers. New Zealand's population is just under 4.7 million.

Kiwis who sleep with their smartphones nearby were woken in the middle of the night by the message, for which the country's civil defence agency has since apologised.

Here's a typical reaction to the wake-up text:

With New Zealand Twitter getting pretty warm about the topic, the nation's civil defence agency Tweeted its “sorry”:

Writing for the National Business Review, NZ tech writer Paul Brislen said the middle-of-the-night message happened because the developers were working to European time, where the message was initiated mid-afternoon.

The alerts-by-smartphone development is intended to supplement New Zealand's existing radio announcements. The nation is famously tectonically tenuous, so rapid dissemination of news about quakes, eruptions and landslides is valuable to residents. ®


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