Major 8.0 quake at Kermadecs, NZ warning for people to move higher

People evacuating near Ohope
People evacuating to higher ground on Kohi Point Lookout Road in Ōhope. Image: Joy Coyle/RNZ

By RNZ News

An 8.0 earthquake has struck near the Kermadec Islands, hours after a 7.4 quake near the Kermadecs and a 7.1 off the North Island coast,

A 7.4 quake struck near the Kermadec Islands earlier this morning. The islands are 800km to 1000km from New Zealand.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said people on the East Coast of the North Island should head to higher ground immediately because of a tsunami threat from the 8.0 quake.

In its third earthquake warning, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said people in the East Coast of the North Island from the Bay of Islands to Whangārei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay including Whakatāne and Opotiki and Great Barrier Island must move immediately to higher ground.

It said people in the areas indicated on the mane should not wait, but should evacuate these areas even if they didn’t feel the earthquake.

“A damaging tsunami is possible,” it said.

The Kermadec Islands are more than 800km from New Zealand, and is an area where there is a lot of earthquake activity.

The last major quake in the region was in June, also a 7.4 magnitude tremor, which prompted warnings of strong currents around New Zealand’s coast but no damage was reported.

A 7.4 quake struck near the Kermadec Islands
Two major quakes struck near the Kermadec Islands this morning. Image: USGS

GNS Science seismologist John Ristau said today’s quake was along the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.

It was the second severe quake in New Zealand waters this morning, after a strong 7.1 magnitude quake struck off the north Island coast.

More than 52,000 people reported on GeoNet that they felt the quake. It struck at 2.27am, 105km east of Te Araroa at a depth of 90km.

Hundreds of people moved to higher ground but there have been no immediate reports of damage. A tsunami warning for that quake was cancelled around 6am.

In Suva, according to some alerts Fiji was reportedly on the path of a tsunami but no government alert or signs of movement/panic had been posted.

Tsunami route
The tsunami evacuation route at the University of the South Pacific. Image: Shailendra Singh/Wansolwara

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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