Manawatu reacts to large quake
Power cut, businesses evacuate, court shutsCHRIS HYDE AND MATHEW GROCOTT
LATEST: A large quake, felt through Manawatu, cut power in Hunterville, saw people evacuated from buildings and briefly closed the Palmerston North District Court.
The Capital Connection train service from Wellington to Palmerston North has been cancelled with no bus replacements.
Passengers have been asked to make their own arrangements to get home.
Lifts at Palmerston North's Library stopped as they are programmed to during the earthquake.
Maintenance crews were working this afternoon to get them restarted.
Following this afternoon's quakes, central-city workers in Palmerston North rushed to The Square with many requiring a stress-relieving cigarette break following the quake.
It measured 6.6, located 10km south east of Seddon at a depth of 8km at 2.31pm and was then followed by a 5.7 rattler at 3.52pm.
Initial reports said the earliest quake was magnitude 6.9 and then 6.2.
POWER CUT TO HUNTERVILLE
A series of quakes including some centred in the Rangitikei region has cut power to Hunterville.
PowerCo reported the fault with an estimated fix time of 6pm tonight.
Within half an hour of the major quake, a shallow 4.2 magnitude earthquake also shook Hunterville.
The quake was centred 35km south of Turangi. It struck at 2.57pm at a depth of 6km.
A 3.8 magnitude quake also struck at 3.06pm, at a depth of 11km, 10km south of Ohakune.
Then at 3.09pm, a "severe" quake hit km north of Taihape.
It was a 4.9 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 13km, Geonet says.
A further aftershock was reported by Geonet near Levin at 3.27pm.
The 4.5 magnitude shake was centered 10km north-east of the Horowhenua at a depth of 29km.
PALMERSTON NORTH REACTION
The tallest building in Palmerston North, the FMG building felt like it was a boat in the ocean for worker Jay Samuels.
"We were just on level 4 of the building and even after it finished the building kept rocking back and forward because the building is on rollers.
"There's a number of workers that are quite distressed."
Palmerston North District Court was briefly halted as people evacuated the building.
Calls to the Greater Wellington and Hutt City councils have been transferred to the Palmerston North City Council-based call centre following the earthquake.
Palmerston North head of Civil Defence Stewart Davies said there had been no calls about damage in the city.
"It highlights the need to reinforce the messages for people to drop, cover and hold, and if you do leave a building, don't hang around the fringes under verandas and the like."
City council property manager John Brenkley said a visual check of Square Edge, one of several council-owned earthquake-prone buildings, discovered no signs of damage.
Stephanie Thomson and Esther Fou were on the third floor of the Civic Building and said it was not the place to be in an earthquake.
"Luckily we work with the Civil Defence guys so as soon as it got a bit stronger we had a calming voice yelling out, reminding us to drop, cover and hold."
Palmerston North City councillor Duncan McCann was inside Cafe Express on The Square when the earthquake hit.
"I was reading the Manawatu Standard waiting for my coffee and my first thought was, wow I'm going to faint," he said. "I realised it wasn't me."
Mr McCann said everyone in the cafe looked at each other and left, thinking it would be safer on the street.
The rolling earthquake was a "very different feeling" to the earthquake on July 20 which he said was more of a jolt.
Feilding resident Mel Edmon was on the top floor of Square Edge when the earthquake struck.
''I'm from New York, we don't get earthquakes there,'' she said outside the building shortly after the quake.
''I had no idea at first I thought I was getting dizzy and then I realised when I saw the lights moving.'' Ms Edmon said she hid under a table before deciding she had to get out of the building.
Over at the ice rink in The Square an ice skater spoken to by the Manawatu Standard was unaware of the drama.
Palmerston North artist Hana Tawhai said she had not felt anything, though she had taken an unexpected tumble about the time the earthquake struck.
"I thought I was actually skating really good."
Although she had fallen over a couple of times already during today's skate "that time there was no reason".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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