Nelson residents were shaken after a 7-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of the lower North Island last night.
GeoNet reported the earthquake hit at 10.36pm. It was centred 230km deep and was 60km southwest of Opunake in Taranaki.
There have been no reports of damage in the Nelson region.
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The quake shook New Zealand from Bay of Plenty to Canterbury.
The first quake was followed nine minutes later by a 4.6 shake at the same depth, 70km south of Opunake.
While there was no major damage or injuries reported, 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 overnight.
Some people were also reported to have evacuated to higher ground on the Horowhenua coast, however a Civil Defence spokesman said there had been a low tsunami risk as the quake struck so deep.
No tsunami warning was issued following the quake.
Marea Faigan, from Lower Lepper Rd, 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,'' she said.
One night worker from Wellington said she and her colleagues felt the quake rock their building.
``We all dived under our desks just in case,'' she said.
New World Chaffers duty manager Mark Huddleston said no breakable items fell off shelves at the central Wellington supermarket but small items like tea bags and painkillers tumbled to the aisles.
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 following the quake. A delay of 30 minutes was possible on early Masterton services due to the wait for track clearance.
Taranaki Civil defence senior emergency management officer Shane Briggs said he had been in contact with the Fire Service and the Ministry of Civil Defence but there had been no reports of any damage.
Oil company Shell Exploration said the quake had not damaged the Maui A and Maui B drilling platforms off the Taranaki coast, Radio New Zealand reported.
As part of standard procedures checks were made at crucial places around the rigs and no damage was found.
The GeoNet website described the intensity of the shake as moderate.
Meanwhile, at 11.07pm, a 3.9 magnitude quake struck 20km east of Christchurch, GeoNet said.
It had a focal depth of 9km.
There were no immediate reports of damage.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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