Strange bang shakes North

By Kristin Edge

1 comment

A violent earthquake that shook much of central New Zealand was also felt in the Far North with a row of tiles on the floor of a service station popping, then cracking.

But a GeoNet seismologist in Wellington says he's not convinced the Northland incident was related to the big jolt felt hundreds of kilometres south.

However, there was no doubt in the mind of service station owner Simon Allan as to what had caused the damage to the tiles on the floor of his GAS station on State Highway 10 at Coopers Beach about 5.23pm on Sunday.

"Our worker was standing at the counter on the phone to me saying the tiles were moving then they cracked," Mr Allan said.



He told his worker to go outside and turn off the water mains just in case it was a burst line.

Mr Allan said there were no pipes running under that section of the floor with the underground gas tanks 25m away and the first lot of pipes for the gas pumps at least 7m away.

Mr Allan and his wife Sandra went to the station and quickly watched the store security camera footage and checked the internet to find there had been a 4.3 magnitude quake at the same time, 20km south of Seddon, in the South Island.

That was 10 minutes after a 5.2 magnitude quake which came only minutes after the violent 6.5 earthquake at 5.09pm.

"I'm sure of it being due to an earthquake. There were no big trucks rumbling past or anything."

The section of floor was closed off to customers yesterday. Mr Allan said he would have to lift all of the 198 tiles to repair the broken ones.

They had insurance but there was a $2500 excess.

A few of the local customers had commented that they too had felt the quake about the same time.

GeoNet public information specialist Sara Page said there had been reports of the quake being felt "lightly" from residents in Rawene, Ocean Beach near Whangarei, and Dargaville.

A GeoNet seismologist would not say whether the tiling damage was earthquake-related.

The violent 6.5 earthquake saw thousands of people in Wellington and the South Island huddled under tables and door frames, as masonry and shattered glass showered down on to the street. The quake was centred in the Cook Strait, 20km east of Seddon at a depth of 17km.

Diane Oudshoorn, who has family in Whangarei and Kaitaia, said her home in Blenheim was severely shaken by the big quake. The family was ready to evacuate and their bags plus an emergency pack were ready by the door. "Everyone is on edge just waiting. We hardly slept last night with the aftershocks waking us up through the night."

Mrs Oudshoorn said the water in the swimming pool had been swirling round and round. "It's not a good feeling. You're not in control of what's happening."

Other Northlanders caught up in the quake posted on the Northern Advocate's Facebook page. Dynese Moore, of Tangiteroria, said she was in a Wellington liquor store when the "5pm one hit".

"All the bottles started shaking and we ran out of the store, everyone was running out of stores everywhere and onto the street, a lot of bottles fell down where we had been standing two minutes earlier."

Dana Jane Moran, originally from Whangarei, was at work in a kitchen on the waterfront.

"It started off small and then all our plates started shaking. The oil in the deep fryers started waving so we evacuated. Everyone is okay but a lot of glasses and bottles down. Was bloody scary."

Ex-Whangarei Girls' High School student Catherine Cresswell, a student in Wellington, said university lectures were off yesterday while damage was assessed.

To see the earthquake action at Cooper's Beach GAS service station go to and watch the video.

- Northern Advocate

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