A series of strong earthquakes continue to rattle the Nelson region this afternoon, with several aftershocks felt after an initial 6.2 shake just around 2.30pm.
The quake, originally registered as a 6.9, and later downgraded to 6.2 on seismic activity website Geonet was centred 10 km south-east of Seddon at a depth of 11km.
Do you have photos or video? Click here to send them in
There was no tsunami threat to New Zealand, Civil Defence said.
More than 100 comments were posted on the Nelson Mail Facebook page in the 20 minutes following the shake, with people as far away as Wakefield, Motueka, Murchison, Tapawera and Golden Bay sharing their experiences.
Tammy Ricketts said: "You would have to be dead not to have felt it!"
Amy Aitken said all she could do was hold her computer.
But Alex Palm was not as impressed. "Major earthquake? lol it was a shake, hardly major."
DAMAGE IN MARLBOROUGH
State Highway 1 between Blenheim and Kaikoura has been closed. The closure is from Weld Pass to just north of Kaikoura.
Police have received reports of damage to houses in the Seddon area, but to date there have been no reports of injuries.
They have advised motorists to take extreme care on the roads, particularly around bridges and overpasses which may have moved.
The windows of the Cosy Corner cafe were blown out.
Sister of cafe owner, Gillian Bruning was sitting outside when quake hit and the windows completely smashed out. "It was horrific, we had two Australian tourists in there when it hit and I had to run in and get them out."
"We're gonna have to get in and get the tills our and then board it up some how." People were leaving town, walking down the middle of the street to avoid buildings and power lines.
Train services were halted.
A spokeswoman for St John's southern communications centre said ambulance crews had responded to a fall in Blenheim following the quake, but it was not known if it was related to the shake.
Staff were "not particularly busy" otherwise, but had been checking stations around the South Island. "Everyone's OK," she said.
Early reports of a collapsed house in Seddon proved to be incorrect.
Nelson police officers have been deployed to assist in the Marlborough region.
Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally said a few highway patrol officers and the traffic alcohol group had been sent as part of a contingency plan and would deployed by Marlbrough's area commander.
Workers were leaving their buildings and queues of traffic were forming out of the capital.Roads leading to highways out of Wellington, including Jervois Quay and Boulcott St, were snarled with traffic delays.
On Wellington's waterfront, cranes swayed and the city seemed to groan.
Joggers stopped in their tracks and struggled to stand. Amanda Beeslaar, a visitor from Auckland, said the quake was ''terrifying''.
''It felt like a jet plane coming over and them it just started shaking. I thought the earth was going to open up.''
Sam Stanley was in the NZX building when the quake hit.
''I feel a bit queasy, it was swaying so much. I waited about ten seconds and got under my table, then we decided to get out.''
Early reports of a collapsed house in Seddon, Marlborough proved to be incorrect.
A magnitude 5.7 aftershock centred 5km southeast of Seddon and 8km deep hit about six minutes later.
Another large aftershock, magnitude 5.6, struck at 2.45pm. It was centred 15km southeast of Seddon at a depth of 5km.
A quake closer to Wellington struck at 2.50pm. Geonet said the 4.8 magnitude quake was 15km south of the city at a depth of 5km.
People in Wellington said the quake was very strong. All train services in the region were cancelled.
Wellington Airport has reopened after a runway inspection.Wellington's City Gallery has been evaculated, pending a building inspection.
Trading on all markets on the New Zealand stock exchange has been halted.Bringing a halt to trading was a rare occurrence, she said, and hadn't needed to be done during other recent tremors in the area. Power was out in the Wellington suburb of Karori but has since been restored.
There were hundreds of ''felt it'' reports on the Geonet website, including reports as far south as Dunedin and as far north as Auckland.
Michael Brennan of Seatoun, Wellington, was sitting watch the TV when the quake struck.
"I looked out the window and Bella [the cat] came running through the cat door. The house just started swaying and shaking. I thought 'Is this going to be it or what?'. Then it just tapered off. I think it must have nearly split the country in half."
The Seddon area has been the centre of seismic activity since the day before a magnitude 6.5 quake struck on July 21.GNS
Science seismologist Stephen Bannister said that quake had released energy equivalent to 100 nuclear bombs of the size released on Hiroshima.
"If it had been under the city we would have been looking at equal damage or close to what happened in Christchurch."
There have been hundreds aftershocks since then.They continued to rumble in Seddon last night, with a magnitude 4.4 earthquake shaking the area at 7pm.
It was quickly followed by a magnitude 2.4 and magnitude 3 in the same spot.
- © Fairfax NZ News