NZ tsunami warning cancelled after 8.3 Chile earthquake

Geonet's tsunami gauges  show the waves arriving late Thursday night.
GEONET

Geonet's tsunami gauges show the waves arriving late Thursday night.

A national tsunami warning that had been in force following a magnitude-8.3 earthquake off the coast of Chile has been cancelled.

Caution was still advised, but the tsunami threat to New Zealand's east coast and Chatham Islands since Thursday's quake has largely passed, Civil Defence said.

"We expect that there may be some unusual water conditions for the next 24-36 hours and advise people to be cautious and use discretion before going into the water or going out in small boats," said Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black.

"We expect things to be back to normal within that 36 hour period."

On any given day New Zealand's entire coastline could be at risk from a tsunami, she said, reminding Kiwis to be prepared in an emergency.

Overnight, sea surges at the Chatham Islands left a reef at the township of Waitangi exposed before water surged back in.

The first of the quake-generated waves reached the Chatham Islands at 11.50pm on Thursday, and Civil Defence said the highest recorded there was around 50cm above normal sea level.

From North Cape down to Christchurch, including Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier, Wellington and Kaikoura, tsunami gauges recorded waves of up to 30cm above normal.

Whitebaiters and surfers ignored the warnings in Canterbury.

Several surfers were looking for waves at New Brighton beach after the overnight tsunami warning.

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Several surfers were looking for waves at New Brighton beach after the overnight tsunami warning. Photo: DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

* Have you seen anything unusual? Email tips, photos and videos to newstips@stuff.co.nz

READ MORE:
Earthquake measuring 8.3 hits Chile
* Surfers ignore wave warnings in Christchurch
Coromandel school gets wrong time, evacuates

Chatham Islands Emergency Management said the ebb and flow of the tsunami, combined with low tide, meant the bay at Waitangi was so low reefs were visible out to boat moorings.

Mayor Alfred Preece said the reef had been exposed for quite some time before the water surged back in.

"The water moving away from the shore is what seems to happen in most of these events we have experienced here," he said.

No damage had been reported from anywhere around the Chathams as a result of the tsunami.

"We haven't seen any significant wave height over the past night but certainly a bit of tidal surge between 2 and 5am (local time)."

Waitangi was on the western side of the island, while on the eastern side where he lived he had seen nothing significant, Preece said.

"Tyre tracks on the beach at midnight ... were still on the beach this morning at 6am."

As a precaution, families who lived in three houses close to sea level had spent the night elsewhere.

In Hawke's Bay, the Napier port buoy had continuing surges since early Friday morning from 1.06m to 1.63m (a rise of 0.57 m) over 15 minute periods.


A map detailing tsunami threat levels in New Zealand from the Chile earthquake. Source: CIVIL DEFENCE


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