Readers' stories from the earthquake (+ photos)

We were the first up Kaiti hill that night. My partner works for Faulton Hogan and had a 3-way radio, we were able to comfort and support the many people who travelled up the hill, they had many stories to tell. We all stayed up there for an hour, while being in contact with the Civil defence, all watched the sea and waited.

Lloyd Gretton
My octogenarian parents and I were watching in town a DVD. Then the floor began to shake. We immediately knew it was an earthquake. I was not at first much worried. Then the house began to creak and shudder. We clung to each other on the settee. The lights went off and things everywhere were crashing down. Mum who remembered Napier was moaning. I expected the house any moment to crack apart. I was thinking this was it. Our former fruitful lives were over. But Dad the World War II pilot trooper kept saying, "everything is going to be all right".

Raelene in Wellington
We felt it in wellington was not very strong and really that long but we felt it I wish you guys the best of luck with the clean up our thought are with you.

A Swannell
A scary shock for everyone at the moment, not everyone is prepared for an earthquake, we lost a microwave and a few photo frames, but the best we can do is just help where ever we can. My family was at home at the time, but at opposite ends of the house with the children being on their own in the middle of the house, so it was a mad rush to get to the children, friends of ours had just walked out of the warehouse only to find it swaying, we very naughtily left the house by car to check on family members to find cars entering the CBD, and then a line making their way up Kaiti hill, there was just mess and chaos everywhere, our thoughts go out to everyone at this time of the year, especially the retail stores.

Me and my family were watching TV and suddenly this big rumbling came. I didn't know what the hell it was. Our TV blanked out and all my family jumped going "earthquake, earthquake". I ran for the door and out onto our front lawn. The world felt like it was going to end. I looked and our car was bouncing up and down. By now the rumbling had got worse. The feeling felt fake - like having a nightmare and I was thinking this is actually happening to me. I was shaking like mad. A bit of damage done.

Eileen in Palmerston North
I was talking to my husband about something we were watching on the telly, when suddenly I felt as though I was being tossed out of my chair. We live in Palmerston North and felt the earthquake was a huge one, although we felt safe in our home and weren't worried by it at all. Our centre light was swinging and swaying as we've never seen it before, but I have checked and haven't found any evidence of anything having moved, slipped or fallen off shelves. It did seem to be the biggest and longest we'd ever felt. I got on the computer to email our rellies in Australia because the News over there always makes something very big about earthquakes in NZ and I didn't want them worrying about us and wasting their money ringing to see if we were OK. We were safe and didn't think the earthquake was any big deal, but did wonder where it was centred. When we did find out how big and where it had hit hardest, we couldn't believe that we could have felt it so huge, being so far away. At that time we still didn't know the damage that had been caused by it... We feel so deeply for the folk of Gisborne, and do trust that out of the chaos they will still be able to have a joyous and peaceful Christmas. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you all up there, and very specially with the family of the elderly lady who passed away after suffering a heart attack.

Mikayla, aged 12, in Gisborne
When the earthquake shook I was outside with my dog my dog started going crazy and then all of a sudden the whole ground started shaking and trembling it felt like it was vibrating. I then heard the whole house move and I could hear lots of noise like screaming and things getting broken and stuff, then Iran to my mum and we stood in the doorway until it finished. I was in very big shock and my legs and arms were shaking very muchly. We then hopped in the car and drove to highland just in case there was a tsunami we were freaking out - all of us were. After a while we picked up on service and we listened to the radio and it said that was everything was gonna be fine which made me feel very relieved. We went home and made ourselves calm and flicked on the news and it showed all the damage in the town it was really annoying because my mum was about to go Christmas shopping but she couldn't. Our house suffered lots of broken glass (but no broken windows) but our chimney cracked and apparently it was swaying hardcore and the foundations have moved a little. Honestly it was the scariest time of my life! Hopefully our town gets fixed soon!

Marie Chaney in Ruatoria
I live in Ruatoria, was putting my baby to sleep as well as talking to my cuz in whakatane....THEN! the house started to shake and the light's started flickering, initially I thought it was the washing machine on spin, cause that can shake our house, but it went on too long and was stronger.... then were were in total darkness, we all went outside for a while lit candles come back inside put the kids to bed um.. lights come back on 40mins later, then watched a bit of t.v then all went to sleep.

Gina in Gisborne
We were having our staff Christmas dinner in a restaurant. The ground started to move, then bottles and glasses started smashing, we all dived under tables, freaking out. The power went out. When it stopped shaking we went outside and the ground was still moving. People were pretty shaken up. I was shaking like a leaf. Trying to get home from town was difficult the roads were jammed, lights were out. A terrifying experience for sure. Luckily no-one was hurt. Our shop is open and not a thing moved, yet next door everything is smashed and Hallensteins two doors up has partially collapsed. Shows the need to be prepared for a disaster. Gissy people will all pull togethor, its a pretty friendly place.

Melanie Tonkin in Rukuhia
We were sitting down watching TV when the house started to shake, as we are on peat it happens often when the horses move in the paddock next to the house. I said to my husband, that it was too stong to be the horses so we went and checked and they were all standing still. So it was the quake we felt in Rukuhia - South of Hamilton!

Also a work collegue was still at work. We work in a five story building also built on peat. He said the building was swaying and everything was moving on the desks.

I am amazed to have felt it so strongly so far north. I just can't imagine what it would have been like for those in Gisbourne.

Raelene in Wellington
We felt it in wellington was not very strong and really that long but we felt it I wish you guys the best of luck with the clean up our thought are with you.

Georgina Sheridan in Tauranga
Hi, having only lived in Tauranga for two years, and never experienced an earthquake before was a little freaky for sure. I was on the phone at the time to my father in Paihia and all of a sudden the xmas tree was a rockn n rolln and there was a slight swaying feeling for about 20sec. So, my first experience of an earthquake.

Last night as I was driving home from work, at about 9pm i was on the phone to my friend who has recently moved down to Gisborne and is staying with her family, when i overheard the dog start barking then to me it sounded a little bit like thunder and then it got really loud and things start breaking and falling on the ground and just people yelling to get under the door frames of the house. I was told that when my friend looked behind her all she could see was the house moving from side to side. Lucky i did not get cut off as we were on a cellphone. So I knew they were all safe. I then hung up and rang back in approx. 15 mins. Then they found out that it was a 6.8 on the richter scale and they all started to worry and decided to head up to a friends house up on higher ground. This story may not be interesting but I just thought i would share my view as I even heard the earthquake it was that intense.

Kathryn Calvert in New Plymouth
The earthquake was felt strongly in New Plymouth. I was watching television when the room started to roll like I was on top of a surfboard in a gentle swell. I called for my children, and we all watched the lightshades swaying. The tremours seemed to last for more than 30 seconds, and then died down to nothing. It was quite frightening for my children, and I thought to myself that it was obvious there'd been a large earthquake somewhere closeby, as Taranaki rarely gets earthquakes that last so long. I hope everyone in Gisborne is okay and has a good Christmas.

Sean in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria
I was sitting in my office in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria talking to my wife in Tolaga Bay when she said "Oh, we are having an earthquake..." Then the line went dead. It took me another 20 minutes or so to get back through to her. Scary stuff!

I felt it hit. I was sitting at my computer and the computer started swaying big time! I told mum and she looked at the Xmas tree and saw that was swaying around as well! Scarey stuff but not as big as the one that hit malborough earlier in the year

15 year old kid at Wainui East Coast skating with some mates. Concrete started rolling 10cm of ground trees around shaking couldn't stand properly so ran up hill. All of Wainui was out of power and the whole of Gisborne out of power saw a freak wave out to sea but no big tsunami. Mates chimmney fell down and glass everywhere. Quite scary.

Bob Gingles
I was outside polishing my classic Ford under the carport about 8.55pm. I had the car srereo playing loudly, when i felt a few small "shudders" undefoot. I thought "Shit", an earthquake aye?"

Not so phased, i didn't worry about it too much. "THEN!", All of a sudden, there was an almighty "LURCH", and the concrete under the carport began to "ripple" like "waves" going through it. Wave after wave.

The house was swaying, the large fruit trees looked like they were being "buffeted" by severe gails, and the large boxing bag hanging under the 12" beams of the carport, was swing wildly, and almost parallel with the bottom of the trusses!

The road had waves going through it as well! "BIG WAVES!". Movements of up to about a foot high! And I tell it like it was, not "dramatising" or "beefing" the events up either.

My van was a little way up the driveway behind my V8, and I "swear"! The tyres were almost leaving the ground! It was swaying and rocking from side to side so violently!. When I looked at the car, it looked like it was "gettin' down and "boppin'" to da music"! Lol !

All power was lost as far as I could see, it was almost dark, and when it (the quake) finally finished "lingering" there was an eerie silence over the whole of Gisborne. Just total silence.

Then, people gradually came outside, murmering, talking quietly etc, and before long, distant sirens could be heard as the emergency services started swinging into action.

I instructed my son to get some basic supplies together, and go to higher ground on the other side of town - medicine, water, food, blankets, torches, and walky talky radios etc. in case of a TSUNAMI hitting here after a quake of that magnitude.

I knew, if it did eventuate, we wouldn't have that long to wait. Maybe half an hour or less. Perhaps an hour. All I knew was that we had to cross a bridge (one of 4 or 5) before any tidal wave came, and get to high ground. Otherwise, we would be like drowned rats if we got caught on this side of town. The tidal rivers could come up and block any bridge access to safety.

Our neighbours were ok, and my wife called me to call in to her Auntys to see if she was ok once I was on her side of town. Which she was.

Traffic was everywhere. All heading to high ground. But I must add - the drivers were driving very well, with no panicking or "crazy" "frantic" manuvoures.

I have been in some big quakes, but "this" was probably about as big as I will ever experience in my life time. It was an "AWESOME" show of natures power! And we humans were "powerless" to do anything but stand in awe of it, and hope for the best. Cheers!

Ashleigh Brown in Japan
As a Kiwi living in Japan I experience earthquakes frequently. Perhaps not the best place to be for someone who has a possible phobia of them...

Upon learning of the major quake back in NZ my first action was to ring home and find out if my relatives were okay. My parents said that they hadn't heard from my uncles, aunts or cousins. But I guess no news is good news.

Even though my parents are in Wellington, that didn't stop me from berating them about the benefits of having an earthquake kit. Having experienced two major quakes (each measuring 6.8 on the richter scale) in the space of five months and having seen the damage first hand, I would definitely recommend being prepared!

Joanne in Ormondville
Just before 9pm I felt a sickly nauseous movement of which I had no immediate recognition. Upon standing it continued and that surreal moment of understanding head was elsewhere with pounding sensations and complete confusion. I ventured onto the deck and clutched a moving post support and watching helplessly for the next 30sec as the house swayed against the fading daylight behind it.

Matt and Andie
We were actually trying to do some Xmas shopping at the Warehouse when it hit. That was a scary place to be.. Alot of stock falling onto the aisles and some people too. I was one of the last few people out of the store even though I was right near the exit in the music department. We saw one lady walking out with what looked like fairly bad head injury. We were fine, so checked on my Work before heading home. It was a bit of a mess in the workshop and the bosses office was a real mess.

So when we made it home, as you can see, we had a right pigsty to deal with. So having a few quiet ones now, and trying to make ourselves tired enough to actually get some sleep!

Tony Trafford, manager of the Soho Bar in Gisborne
We lost about 60 bottles of spirits and 300 Glasses. Perfect before the biggest weekend of the year!

Jim Battlad in Gisborne
Was just before 9pm when the quake hit gisborne, was enjoying a glass of port, before we were to turn in for the nite, then out of the blue the ground started a rolling movement, lights flicked, ordament fell, the cats bolted, i thought for a second that just maybe i'd had a bit too much too drink!

Managed to calm the wife down tellin her that a wave wasn't coming ( well I hoped anyway). No power, no internet and no phone BUGGER....

popped outside to check on the neighbours and the situation, one of the neighbour popped his head over the fence with a beer, and we sort of just camped out till the power came back on,

Phillip Cowman
We were watching TV when the TV started to rock backwards and forwards. I dived for it to stop it smashing to the floor and only then realised that it was quite a big Earthquake. We then thought to get the kids out of the house, but everything was shaking so badly that we couldn't stand up. Then books, ornaments, photo's and food jars and tins started crashing to the floor.

After a minute or so everything gradually calmed down and we rushed through to the kids rooms. Our youngest one was still fast asleep, but the older one was standing terrified trying to get out of his door. We took them both outside, but by this time everything had calmed down.

We took them back inside and went to check on the neighbours. The youngest one still hasn't woken up!! Definately the strongest that we have ever felt.

Tony Penman in Essex
Spoke to my mother who lives in Gisborne. She was very upset and said there was significant superficial damage to the house. A large amount of crockery and china had been broken, books emptied from bookcases, broken wine bottles have wrecked the carpets, foodstuffs and broken glass all over the kitchen floor, piano thrown across room etc.

She estimates thousands of dollars of damage in her house alone.

In my brothers house his water cylinder has fractured and water has poured out flooding his house and once again causing significant damage.

Trish Baily
Just felt an earthquake here, (bit before 9pm bit of a scary one. Seemed to go on for ages, in excess of a minute, from start to finish probably more in the time of about two minutes. Started with a small shake then got stronger and stronger, was hard to keep proper balance when you are trying to brace against a moving door frame. Things were moving on walls, plants wriggling and jiggling, woke the birds who took flight. Power poles were moving about causing the wires to swing. Even after the quake had finished seemed as though it was still going, bit like when you get off a boat that has been rocking.

No damage that I can see around here. Think it would be one of the worst that I have felt. I know it is wrong but we aren't too sure how strong this house is so went outside to where we felt might be the strongest part of the house, and away from trees and powerlines.
Keep feeling little movements, not sure if it might be after shocks or a bit of me shaking.

When we were kids and growing up in Rotorua we got used to earthquakes and only now as an adult do we worry about them

The Sheridans in Gisborne
The computer hard-drive fell off the computer desk, its still working though. Broken glass and a mess inside. Main street Gisborne was munted and glass on the streets.

Dinner was ready just before the earthquake so we managed to have that on time!

Stewart Rix in Napier
I was standing on a chair repairing a garage door roller when the garage started to shake violently as if buffeted by a very strong gale. I stood down and felt the concrete floor "rock". The tremors intensified for about 5 seconds then tailed off for approx 10 more seconds. I later noticed the water in the swimming pool was sloshing from side to side and over-flowing. Fortunately there appears to be no real damage.

Julie Stone
Yeah, we felt it alright. Being from Australia it completely freaked us out. Not the severest we've felt, but definitely the longest. Makes you realise - we are not prepared if the big one strikes.

Carin Hercock
My parents arrived in Gisborne today for the Christmas Holidays. My mother phoned just after 9.00pm to say there had been a massive earthquake, she was in bed and it woke her up. It was the biggest earthquake either had experienced.

They could hear smashing glass but hadn't been able to establish all the damage as they only had one small torch and the power was out. They said it was very frightening and people where out in the streets. Both were OK but obviously very shaken

Douglass Beck in Palmerston North
I was sitting in the lounge room when I felt the ground jolt. I then looked up and the lights were swinging and the xmas tree was also

Casey Smith in Tauranga
Hi, just commenting on the earthquate story. I live in Tauranga and was out to dinner with my mother's work (for the xmas party) and a resturant in down town Tauranga and we felt the earthquake. It went for about 10 secounds and then stoped then went for about another 10 secounds and then again for about 4 secounds. But we deffinitley felt it.

I got home and checked the site and was very suprised of where it started and that we felt it, it would be very interesting to print so other people can no how far and wide it was felt. We had to tell some people in the resturant that there was a earthquake but we deffinitley felt it. it was small and no damage in tauranga but still suprising that we felt it. Thanks.

Terry in Gisborne
I'm in Kaiti, Gisborne, so I got the full effect, as it were. I was sitting at the PC when the quake hit, and the most important thing on my mind was shutting down the external HDD before it dropped off the desk (Once a hacker, always a hacker...!) A long rolling aftermotion was the most impressive thing about the quake for me.

Sister lost a fishtank, but the funny thing is an hour after the quake, when we got power pack and went to clean it up, four out of the five fish were still alive. They're living in a couple of buckets for now, but goes to show there is a silver lining in practically anything.

Janine Cooper in Napier
at friends house thought someone was beating their feet to music then the power surged and the house rocked then another 6 seconds rocked again. waiting for the next one..............

Jenni in Poraiti
Felt the quake quite strongly in Poraiti just out of Napier. I heard a loud roaring noise before the quake which shook the house for about 10 seconds. It made the crockery rattle, hanging lights swing and house creak. So far I haven't seen any damage.

Craig Foss, National MP for Tukituki
It was probably the strongest quake I have felt for a long time. We live in an old, 1914, two story wooden homestead at Waimarama, on the Hawke's Bay coast. The whole house seemed to rock for ages. Our youngest, 5 years old, was woken by the quake / noise and we all stood under an internal door frame. I am sure the lights dimmed just before the quake hit. It seemed to go on for a long time. There was a lot of creaking and groaning. Our home seemed to take a long time to settle down and stop moving although so far we have not found any damage.

Keri Hulme in Okarito
At 8.57ish (dont have a second counter on my computer) my *earthquake chimney'* rattled briefly and there was a similarly brief earth movement. I went to Geonet after 9pm, learned there had been a big earthquake @ 8.55pm, and tried to file a 'Felt it?" on their site - that function was down.

*earthquake* chimney = the outer internal sheathing of my Kent logburner: it will register by rattle any underfloor/ground movement but not heavy trucks going by outside on the road...I have come to rely on it over the past nearly 30 years.

So, the earthquake was v. briefly felt up here in South Westland! (I live in Okarito.)

Catherine Watson in Gisborne
There's no power. Everyone is on the street. The house was shaking and we were all swaying. We stood in the door frames. Smashed glass everywhere, frames, ornaments smashed and on the floor, wine everywhere. Food has fallen off all the shelves in the pantry. Water pipes have burst so flooding all through the house. Everyone is driving out of town and the streets are all backed up with cars.

Its terrifying

Elaine in Greenmeadows, Napier
Sitting at our computer when the power started going on then off and the budgie went berserk. The concrete floored house had swinging lights and doors. Set the stop watch on my watch and the quake continued for at least 2 minutes. Land line did not work temporarily. No damage here. Last quake of this magnitude when Dannevirk had buildings pulled down due to damage.

Lance in Rotorua
rocking motion felt in rotorua 30 seconds

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