Small aftershocks continue overnight after 5.8 earthquake hits lower North Island
The North Island's been shaken all night long after Pongaroa's 5.8 quake - and GeoNet warns aftershocks could follow for weeks, some as large as magnitude 5.
GeoNet reported the 9.05pm quake was of severe intensity.
It struck about 15 kilometres east of Pongaroa, in the Tararua district, at a depth of 30 kilometres.
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Nine aftershocks have followed so far - the most intense, a 4.5-magnitude quake at 10.55pm, that struck at a depth of 26km, 15km east of Pongaroa.
GeoNet scientist Caroline Little said within the first 35 minutes of the 5.8 quake, the GeoNet website received more than 3800 felt reports covering much of the North Island.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Pongaroa. No reports of damage, no tsunami threat.— MCDEM (@NZcivildefence) October 12, 2015
By morning there were over 5200 felt reports, spanning Auckland to Invercargill, with most clustered in the lower North Island.
Little said aftershocks could continue for weeks, with some possibly reaching as large as magnitude 5.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said there was no tsunami threat, but people should expect aftershocks.
"Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. Use the stairs, not an elevator and when outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas."
Residents around Pongaroa said they felt the quake last for about 30 seconds.
Eugene Pitt said it was a scary moment.
"I live 15 minutes north of Pongaroa near Weber. It was a biggie and I am willing to sacrifice my man points by saying that it scared the proverbial out of me."
Another resident in the town said their entire house was shaking but there was no damage.
"A couple of things fell off the shelf, but all good."
Just got off the ph with mum in pongaroa, she said the earthquake was a doozy, lasted for ages #eqnz— Rebecca Chamley (@beckymoment) October 12, 2015
Another said nothing in their house moved.
"It was a good shake and lasted about 30 seconds or so."
Pongaroa Senior Constable Dave Kirk said he had called around the community, as well as people in the Akitio area.
So far, there had been no injuries or significant property damage.
He said there had been a few earthquakes over the last couple of weeks.
"This was a goody though."
Senior Sergeant David Burmeister, of Palmerston North, said he had been in touch with police in the area, and no damage had been reported.
"There is no obvious damage and no calls out at this stage," he said.
There were reports of houses shaking in the Waipawa region in Hawke's Bay.
One reader said he was on the phone to a friend who lived in Waipawa when she said she had to hang up because of cups falling off her shelves.
"She said the whole house was shaking and there were cups flying."
Fire Service central communications centre and police both said they had not received calls from anyone reporting damage.
The quake was felt from Napier to Wellington, with people quickly taking to social media to report the shaking in their area.
Sarah Ivey tweeted: "Hunterville is rocking more than usual! Scrambled for the doorway even #eqnz #christchurchstillhauntsme."
Amy Winter, from Otaki, was watching a movie with her partner when the quake struck.
"I noticed the house was moving. We started looking around and saw the doors were swinging on their hinges. It went for over a minute," she said.
Winter, who lives close to the coast line, said she was mindful of tsunamis.
"I am petrified of earthquakes, my partner was trying to tell me to keep calm. It was very scary."
If you haven't already signed up to Shakeout, now might be a good time after this reminder - remember to Drop, Cover and Hold!— MCDEM (@NZcivildefence) October 12, 2015
Lorraine De Visser, who works at the Wimbledon Pub near Dannevirke, said there was no damage there as a result of the quake.
"It was quite rolling earthquake. It didn't seem to last that long," she said.
The quake hit three days ahead of the national Shakeout - a Civil Defence-run earthquake drill that will take place on October 15.
"If you have not already signed up to Shakeout, now might be a good time after this reminder - remember to Drop, Cover and Hold!", Civil Defence tweeted on Monday night.
WHAT TO DO:
In a national advisory notice, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) said it was assessing information with the help of scientific advisers and Civil Defence groups.
There was no tsunami threat, it said.
"MCDEM, local civil defence authorities and scientific advisers are closely monitoring the situation."
People in the affected area should:
* Expect aftershocks and remember to drop, cover and hold.
* Look after yourself and get first aid if necessary.
* Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. Use the stairs, not an elevator and when outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.
* Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.
* Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
* Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
* Help people who require special assistance – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities and the people who care for them.
- Source: Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management