Twice in six months

21:45, Jan 20 2014

The lower North Island is once again cleaning up after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake damaged homes, cracked roads, toppled cliffs and cut power.

The earthquake struck shortly before 4pm yesterday.

It was centred about 15 kilometres east of the rural Tararua town of Eketahuna at a depth of about 33km.

It comes almost six months to the day after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, centred near the Marlborough town of Seddon, set off a swarm of tremors that rocked the centre of the country for months.

The shaking from yesterday's quake was felt from Invercargill to Auckland but those in the Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington areas bore the brunt.

While tremors were felt by many people across Taranaki, no damage was reported.

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Powerco's spokesman Dean Stevenson said 1400 customers fed out of the Manaia station lost power and crew worked until late last night to fix the minor issues.

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said he was aware of fire brigades attending a gas leak in Pahiatua following the earthquake.

''Two fire engines have gone out of Dannevirke to Woodville and Pahiatua, and I believe one is a gas leak,'' he said.

''I believe there has been some internal damage to some houses in Eketahuna  but nothing major that we know of at the moment.''

Three people were taken to hospital in Palmerston North after two drums holding garden chemicals fell and their contents mixed during the quake.

Palmerston North chief fire officer Rodger Calder said three were treated for lung and eye issues.

Firefighters were unsure last night exactly what the chemicals were.No-one else was injured in the earthquake.

In Tararua, closer to the epicentre, large cracks  forced the closure of the main road to the  settlement of Pongaroa.

There were no reports of death or serious injury to people.

Castlepoint Station manager and volunteer fire brigade chief Anders Crofoot said the boulder weighed about 20 tonnes and was the size of a small car.

It sheared off a limestone face, south of The Gap beach, and bounced down a steep slope towards holiday makers, he said.

A large slip near Mangaweka turned the Rangitikei River milky-grey.

There were further reports of slips along the Pohangina River and at Anzac Cliffs on the Manawatu River.

Electricity was cut to about 5600 homes in Tararua, Manawatu and Taranaki but lines company Powerco expected all power to be restored by this morning.

Wairarapa Civil Defence controller Kevin Tunnell said there had been  many  reports of minor damage at homes across Masterton and the wider Wairarapa.

Mauriceville residents John Hart and Karen Monks said their restored villa, near Masterton, would need to be restored again following the earthquake.

''It was a very big, sudden shudder and then a couple of really big shakes,'' Mr Hart said.

''The house is pretty much trashed. 

''There's crockery everywhere, the fridge has emptied dhitself, we've got appliances on the floor, bookcases down, and there's quite a few cracks around the house.''

GNS Science seismologist Caroline Little said it would take time to establish which faultline triggered the earthquake.

Fairfax Media