Researchers want emergency planners to think bigger and prepare to isolate New Zealand from the rest of the world in a global catastrophe.
The government is focused on coping with a pandemic virus, and academics say it should also be considering events such as a nuclear war or biological weapons.
They argue that preparing for a sudden international disaster would help New Zealand cope with other, more likely, disruptions such as those caused by climate change.
Here's RNZ senior correspondent, John Gerritsen.
You can find the full RNZ Insight story here.