It is hoped better emergency plans will be put in place at Ocean Beach following last night's earthquake.

Residents of the coastal town were among those across the country who rushed to higher ground after a tsunami warning was issued.

All those at the coastal town fled their seaside properties last night, either driving up the main road to the hilltop, or driving back into Hastings.

Phil Kitchen slept through the quake but was woken around 2.30am by a neighbour. He and three other carloads of residents waited until the tsunami warning was downgraded before returning to their properties.

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Civil defence ad fire brigade co-ordinator Dawn Bennett said the quake "was one of the biggest I had ever felt here".

She began waking neighbours, and telling them to evacuate.

"Everyone panicked,"she said. "You can't see it, and it all went silent.

"As soon as it went quiet, you knew you had to get out of there."

Luckily, as everyone had to evacuate for a similar warning two months ago, all residents knew what to do.
Early this morning, Ms Bennett said the sea was a lot flatter than normal, and at around 6am went out very far, and then came back in quickly.

Although everyone was safe this time, Ms Bennett said more contingency plans needed to be put in place in case a tsunami did hit.

This included installing a siren, and a floodlight on the roof of her two-storey home - one of the few in the area.

She also hoped to create a second evacuation zone closer to the populated area, as residents would be trapped if the bridge to the main road was taken out.