Earthquake felt in Waikato

10:11, Jul 21 2013
Wellington earthquake
Windows broken at Quest hotel.
Wellington earthquake
Cracks at Reading Cinema.
Wellington earthquake
Miramar New World faces a big tidy up after the quake.
Wellington earthquake
Huge crack at Wellington waterfront.
Wellington earthquake
Damage in Featherston St.
Wellington earthquake
Bottles are strewn all over the floor at the New World in Thorndon .
Wellington earthquake
Seymour Square memorial clock in central Blenheim stopped at the time of the quake.
Wellington earthquake
Briscoes in Lower Hutt has had some stock destroyed.
Wellington earthquake
Cracks in the ground at the Wellington waterfront.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
Mackenzie Presten, 10, with caregiver Anthony Mills duck for cover at the ASB sports centre in Kilbirnie during the earthquake.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
The New World supermarket in Blenheim is closed after the earthquake.
6.5 quake in central
The law library at Victoria University.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
Wellington City Council building being cordoned off after the earthquake.
Wellington quake defcon
Shattered building glass on The Terrace in Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
The Kelburn Four Square, Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage to Hannah Turvey's apartment on Taranaki St, Wellington.
Petone Clock
The Petone clock stopped at 5.10pm when the 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at the Quest hotel in central Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at a Liquor King story on the Kapiti coast.
Wellington quake defcon
A police cordon on Wellington's Webb St near the Mercure Hotel in the background, which was evacuated after the 6.5 quake.
Wellington quake defcon
Evacuees being taken into the Wellington Church Of Christ to keep warm after the Mercure Hotel was evacuated and cordoned.
Wellington quake defcon
Severe damage at BNZ's Harbour Quays buildings. Picture posted by @tracy_earl on Twitter.
Wellington quake
Wellington Railway Station completely empty at about 8am today.
Wellington quake
The clean-up begins at Regional Wines and Spirits near the Basin Reserve.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington after 15 square metres of sea wall and road had slumped into the sea at the southern end of the container terminal.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington
Wellington quake
"Things were thrown around" the bedroom of a Thorndon, Wellington home.
Wellington quake
Bridget Thurlow cleans up her mothers Simpson Street Seddon home after last night's quake. The house sustained extensive damage. Her mother Elva Tombs was traumatised and spent the night with family in Blenheim.
Wellington quake
Property owner Kurt Flowerday inspects the damage to his Seymour Street, Seddon property.
Wellington quake
Supervalue Seddon employee Sheryll Kamat and owner Marie Flowerday (in front) clean up after building inspectors gave them the all clear to re-enter the building.
Featherston St post-quake
Workers in Wellington's Featherston St, cordoned off with quake damage.
Wellington quake
A picture of politician Steven Joyce's office post-quake. Photo from @cjsbishop.
Featherston St post-quake
Multiple windows were shattered in the old Dominion Farmers Institute building.
Featherston St post-quake
A photo taken of a crack in the ground at the Clyde Quay development on the Chaffer's Dock end of Wellington's waterfront.
Wellington quake
Lambton Quay quiet at lunchtime on a Monday: Department of Internal Affairs compliance officer, Gareth Bostock, sits on a Lambton Quay bus stop waiting for his office building to open so he can get back to work.
Wellington quake
Workers fix windows at the Harbour City Shopping Centre building in Wellington.
Wellington quake
The Commanding Officer of the Urban Search and Rescue operation in Wellington City, Graeme Mills, at his command centre on The Terrace today. Pictured with him from left to right are senior fire-fighter Matthew Salt and station officer Chris Faithfull.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington after 15 square metres of sea wall and road had slumped into the sea at the southern end of the container terminal.
Wellington quake
Damage to buildings on Featherston St: the building on the right is 131 Featherston.
Wellington quake
Photo taken at the MSD Contact Centre in Lower Hutt that has now been closed due to earthquake damage.
Wellington quake
Damage to a building in Wellington's Taranaki Street.
Wellington quake
A sign on Wellington's SH1 near Johnsonville asking people to avoid entering the city's CBD.
Wellington quake
Paul Lloyd-Jones, cleaning up the mess at his store Thirsty Liqour Newlands.
Wellington quake
The Wellington waterfront at lunchtime the day after the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Wellington.
Wellington quake
Chairman Warren Larsen inspects damage to Wellington's CentrePort caused by yesterdays 6.5 earthquake.
Wellington quake
Damage to Wellington's CentrePort caused by yesterdays 6.5 earthquake.
Wellington quake
Damage to the Old Bank Arcade in Wellington.
Wellington quake
An earthquake damage assessment team at St Mary of the Angels church on Boulcott Street.
Wellington quake
An earthquake damage assessment team looks for damage at St Mary of the Angels church on Boulcott Street.
Wellington quake defcon
French tourist Luca Zappula photographed the White Bluffs from the Wairau Bar minutes before the quake (left), while the photo on the right shows the dust settling afterwards, with a small piece of the headland appearing to be missing.

Central New Zealand has been hit by a severe magnitude 6.5 earthquake, which was felt in Hamilton and the wider Waikato.

It was centered in the Cook Strait, 20 kilometres east of Seddon, at a depth of 17 kilometres. It struck at 5.09pm.

The shaking was also felt in Hamilton, where it gently swayed for close to a minute.

A Geonet map showing the epicentres of many of this morning's quakes
ALL SHOOK UP: A Geonet map showing the epicentres of many of this morning's quakes.

Patients at Waikato Hospital felt their beds move and Hamilton residents reported blinds banging against windows and televisions, couches and light fixtures swaying.

At least two people have been reported as injured - one person in Kapiti and another who was hit by a falling television in Wellington.

Aftershocks have continued throughout the night. One "strong" aftershock at 8:27pm was magnitude 5.3 at a depth of only 14 kilometres, according to Geonet.

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It is the latest in a sequence of major earthquakes in Wellington and wider areas around central New Zealand since Thursday.

There has been damage to buildings and roads in Wellington and Malborough, and several supermarkets have closed as staff clean up food items that have fallen from shelves.

On Facebook people said it was felt right across the Waikato, including Tokoroa, Te Kuiti, Raglan, Ngaruawahia and Huntly.

Te Kowhai resident Gail Henshaw said: "...our rocking chairs started swaying backwards and forwards and even side to side."

Joyce Goodwin said: "Having a bath and reading a book in Dinsdale, felt a bit weird and the water started going sideways in the bath and the towels were swaying on the rail."

A fire service spokeswoman said the phone had been ringing off the hook in Wellington, with power lines down, people trapped in lifts and multiple sprinkler activations in city buildings.

"We've had reports of damage to some buildings down town. We've got power lines that are coming down."

Every fire truck had been sent to jobs, she said: "We've got all of Wellington out now. And we've got jobs waiting to be addressed. We are prioritising jobs."

There have been no reports of earthquake-related emergency callouts in the Waikato.

THE SCIENCE

Dr Kelvin Berryman, GNS Science director of Natural Hazards, said the severe shaking over the past three days was probably linked to one of several faults capable of generating shakes of magnitude 7.0 or more.

The most likely candidate was the Needle fault, although the location of the quakes over the past three days did not quite match up.

He said a larger quake was unlikely but the swarm that kicked off on Friday morning was not following the normal aftershock pattern, in which the tremors became progressively less severe.

This afternoon's 6.5 magnitude shake, the biggest in the latest swarm, meant the shaking was not following the usual pattern, he said.

GNS should have a clearer idea of the probability of another big, or even bigger, quake by tomorrow, he said.

GNS Science research seismologist Stephen Bannister said a magnitude 6.5 earthquake releases energy equivalent to 100 nuclear bombs of the size which devastated Hiroshima.

There had been more than 230 earthquakes since Friday in the area, with about 15 above magnitude 4.

Waikato