Emergency authorities have issued a marine and beach threat for the north coast of the North Island, including the Bay of Plenty shoreline.
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) issed the warning at 7.55am, following a strong earthquake at Te Araroa at 4.37am, around 100km northeast of the East Cape settlement of Te Araroa, at a depth of 55km.
Shortly after 6am a potential tsunami threat was upgraded to a warning by Civil Defence.
Affected areas, including Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, should expect unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows near the shore. This includes beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities. The severity of currents and changing water flows will vary.
First tsunami activity waves were detected at approximately 4:30am, 2 September 2016.
Waves were around 30cm and were detected on the East Cape and Great Barrier Island tide gauges.
Further modelling has indicated tsunami activity is likely to continue for a few hours. The greatest wave height has already occurred, further waves are anticipated to be up to 20cm. Flooding of land areas near the shore is not expected at this time.
Waves are anticipated to be at the lower margin of all the ranges shown on the tsunami threat map. However, some areas where historical amplification of tsunami waves has been recorded, may experience larger waves.
Tsunami activity will continue for the next few hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this warning is cancelled.
People in coastal areas should:
1. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)
2. Stay off beaches and shore areas
3. Do not go sightseeing
4. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends
5. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates
6. Follow instructions of local civil defence authorities
Some communities north of Gisborne self-evacuated, following the earthquake, which was the right thing to do. If you feel further shaking which is too strong to stand up, or over 1 minute in duration, move to higher ground immediately