No serious damage or injuries have been reported after a deep magnitude-7.0 earthquake that shook New Zealand from the Bay of Plenty to Canterbury last night.
GeoNet reported that the quake hit at 10.36pm. It was centred 230 kilometres deep, with its epicentre 60km south of Opunake, Taranaki.
The first quake was followed nine minutes later by a 4.6 shake at the same depth, 70km south of Opunake. Firefighters on a callout in Waverley, near Whanganui, reported seeing cracks in the town's main street and a few "skew-whiff" chimneys, which the Fire Service said would be further assessed this morning.
A Whanganui woman reported a crack in her ceiling, and had gone to stay with her daughter for the night.
Some people were also reported to have evacuated to higher ground on the Horowhenua coast. A Civil Defence spokesman said there had been a low tsunami risk, as the quake struck so deep.
No tsunami warning was issued.
Marea Faigan, from near Inglewood, said she had never felt anything like it in her life.
"It just kept going and going," she said. "The cupboards were rattling, and I grabbed hold of the door frame to steady myself.
"I just felt I needed to hold on to something."
One Wellington worker said she and her colleagues felt the quake rock their building. "We all dived under our desks just in case."
Wellington train service operator Tranz Metro was replacing its 5am Kapiti line service between Waikanae and Paekakariki with two taxis as it waited to clear the track after the quake. The GeoNet website described the intensity of the shake as moderate.
It was felt in Christchurch, Blenheim and Gisborne.
At 11.07pm, a 3.9-magnitude quake struck 20km east of Christchurch.
STIRRED AND SHAKEN
A selection of comments on the Marlborough Express Facebook page last night, answering the question: Who felt that earthquake?
Lauren: Only the whole country by the sounds of things. Felt like a 5 in Christchurch.
RP: It was the noise. I thought it was a huge wind gust then wham we started shaking, pictures bouncing, some things jiggled to the edge of shelves. Not nice.
Nicola: It was very long and rollie in Picton.
Maggie-May: Cats went crazy and the house started shaking.
Rachael : The longest one I have ever felt.
Pip: Biggest fright ever. Have never felt one like it. Makes me sympathise with Christchurch even more.
Yvonne: Woke me out of a deep sleep. A good shake here in Waikawa, heard the loud noise then the shake.
Morgan: Have your escape bag ready, just in case.
Tatty: Felt the shake rumble then the big one. So scared.
Jaden: I moved from Christchurch to get away from that stuff. Nek minnit.
Sarah: I was mopping the floor at work (Picton Village Bakery). Should have video footage of me freaking out. Got a good shake on here.
- The Marlborough Express