Quakes rattle lower North Island

A series of quakes has rattled the North Island this morning.
A series of quakes has rattled the North Island this morning.

People in the lower North Island could be in line for more shakes this morning after a series of quakes rattled the region.

Masterton was jolted by two earthquakes within 40 minutes between 7am and 8am this morning, both centred 20km west of the town.

GeoNet duty seismologist Caroline Little says there could be more to come.

Caroline Little says if the quakes have caused damage, it's likely to have been just broken dishes and rattled windows.

Residents described the second quake, registering 5.2 and 25km deep, as loud, sharp and scary, which was felt all across Wairarapa from Lake Ferry to Eketahuna.

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There have been no reports of damage, although some Greytown residents reported a power loss.

"That was the first time I've actually gotten up and run to the kids," posted Jess Wills in Masterton.

Lisa Larsen said the second quake made her leap out of bed and go to the door. "The dog jumped down from the bed and stopped by me in the doorway, thank goodness. Poor fella's heart was pounding."

In Featherston, Emma Jackson said it was "very loud and shaky".

Another minor quake followed around 8.20am, but some residents claimed to have felt four.

The sense of shaky ground was heightened by severe gales across Wairarapa this morning, with winds expected to reach 140km/h today.

After the earthquakes, More FM's breakfast show hosts Brent Gare and Suzanne McAnulty were heard to nervously pause for a moment, assessing whether they were feeling tremors or wind buffeting.

Acting Masterton district mayor David Holmes said he had just spoken to council's asset manager who confirmed there had as yet been no reports of damage.

Mr Holmes said he had been standing by a concrete power pole which began shaking as the earthquake hit, so he got out of the way quickly.

Civil Defence emergency management advisor Darryl McCurdy said water treatment plants in Masterton and Carterton had now been inspected and had not suffered any damage.

He said Powerco had also inspected its substations and reported no damage.

Masterton district councillor Pip Hannon said she'd felt a big jolt while sitting at the table this morning but it hadn't caused anything to fall over.

She said it was very windy in the area this morning and the quake had come at the end of a big gust of wind.

Wellington Region Emergency Management regional manager Bruce Pepperell said there were no reports of damage at this stage but staff were checking affected areas.

New Zealand Fire Service Masterton station officer Kevin Smith said firefighters had no quake-related callouts this morning.

He said it had been a quiet morning for firefighters.

KiwiRail spokesman Ron Murray said KiwiRail had closed a piece of line between Upperhutt and Masterton to make sure there was no damage.

A decision on whether to re-open it would be made soon.

NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman said the agency had not received any reports of issues on the state highway network in the Wellington or Wairarapa region related to the quake.

She said it would continue to monitor the network.

-additional reporting from Andrew Bonallack, Wairarapa Times Age

- NZ Herald

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