What you need to know
The earthquake and the aftermath
• GNS says today's earthquake released 30 times as much energy as the devastating Christchurch earthquake but was dispersed across a far greater area.
• The initial 6.6 magnitude earthquake, revised to 7.5, was 15km deep and struck at 12.02am not far from Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury in the South Island.
• GeoNet says the 7.5 quake is from two separate earthquakes, which is why there are aftershocks in two locations.
• More than 380 aftershocks have rocked the country with 216 tremors making it over magnitude 4.
• At least two people have died amid reports of many other casualties. One victim suffered a heart attack, another was killed in a historic homestead in Kaikoura.
• It is understood a number of people in the North Canterbury region were treated after suffering non-fatal heart attacks after the quake. Several have occurred at evacuation centres.
• Tsunami warnings have been lifted.
• Prime Minister John Key has called off his trip to Argentina to manage the fallout from today's deadly quake.
• Update: 245 emergency calls have been taken by @NZFireService since the 12.02am quake (nationwide).
• MetService has issued a weather watch for heavy rain and severe winds for parts of the country including Marlborough and North Canterbury. Gusts of 140km/h are likely in exposed places.
• Damage has been reported in the Canterbury, Blenheim and Wellington regions.
• Landslips and bridge damage on road network.
• Three homes have been looted after residents evacuated.
• At least one building was reported to have collapsed in Kaikoura.
• Major infrastructure damage in Kaikoura with no sewerage or running water. Residents urged to conserve water.
• Bridge at Wellington ferry terminal collapsed.
• Dart River, which flows from the Southern Alps to Lake Wakatipu, is blocked.
• Several dairy sheds near Culverden are ruined leaving farmers unable to milk their cows.
Services and schools
• All NZ scholarship exams are postponed.
• NCEA emergency-derived grade process available for schools affected by the earthquake.
• Exams postponed at Massey University's Wellington and Manawatu campuses. Auckland campus exams still on.
• Schools from North Canterbury to Wellington told to stay shut until assessments can be carried out on the buildings.
• Power is still out in parts of Wellington and about 1800 homes in the Culverden and Cheviot areas.
• Amberley Transfer Station was to open as normal at 10am. All other transfer stations will remain closed until further notice in Hurunui District.
• Rubbish and recycling collections will continue as normal in the Waimakariri District.
• Wellington residents report brown tap water.
• Raglan residents are being told to boil their water for the next three days after a disruption to the water supply.
• Insurance Council advise those with damaged property to take photos for insurance purposes and to make a claim within three months to the Earthquake Commission.
• New World Railway
• New World Porirua
• New World Kaikoura
• Four Square Kaikoura
• Henry's Kaikoura
• Four Square Cheviot
• Four Square Culverden (due to open at midday)
• Springlands Countdown
• Blenheim Countdown
• New World
• SH1 Seddon to Cheviot
• SH7 Waipara to Springs Junction
• NZTA has reopened SH1 between Picton and Blenheim
• NZTA asking people to delay travel on SH1 between Picton and Christchurch. Sections of SH1 are closed because of slips and visible damage.
• SH7 through Lewis Pass has reopened, providing a route between Blenheim and Christchurch, but will be down to one lane in places and will take an extra three hours
• SH7A will open from 5pm to 8pm giving access to Hanmer Springs from SH7. Only light vehicles are allowed and they will be under escort by contractors. The route will reopen at 7am tomorrow.
• Wellington CBD bus services are being diverted due to the risk of falling glass in high winds.
• Several bridges on the state highway network are damaged and closed.
• Hanmer Springs is cut off.
• Roads damaged heading into Cheviot.
• KiwiRail services the TranzAlpine, Capital Connection and Coastal Pacific are not running.
• KiwiRail is running between Christchurch and Invercargill.
• The Northern Explorer is running only to Palmerston North.
• An inspection of the North Island Main Truck Line is under way.
• A train has stopped near Kaikoura, as is procedure when an earthquake hits.
• Picton ferry terminal is expected to be operational again today. Full assessment being undertaken of Wellington terminal. No immediate return sailing.
• The Thomsons Ford Road bridge is seriously damaged.
• Vodafone is conducting a full assessment of mobile and fixed-line networks. A few sites are down.
• Damage to physical infrastructure and power outages in Kaikoura are causing connectivity issues for Spark mobile, landline and broadband customers
• Five cell sites in Kaikoura are still down, so nearby homes may not have access to the Spark mobile network until tomorrow
• Six other cell sites in Canterbury are being powered by backup batteries - Spark will ensure these sites will be reconnected to the mains or a backup generator
• All but one cell site have been restored in Wellington, but Spark said customers near the offline site should be in range to connect to other sites
• A few hundred homes in North Canterbury have broadband again, now that power has come back on for many areas
• But 1700 households still can't use their Spark broadband or landline services
• The fibre cable connecting Kaikoura to the national broadband network, which runs along SH1, has been badly damaged. The cable has been severed in the north and south of the town and it may be weeks before broadband is reconnected
• Spark technicians have flown into Kaikoura and looked at the local telephone exchange
• Kaikoura's local phone service is working, so residents can call others in the town, but can't call outside areas
• The entire South Island is depending on Spark's western landline and broadband cable which runs from Blenheim to Christchurch via Greymouth for connectivity to its service because the east coast cable is broken
• If the western cable breaks the entire island may go offline
• Spark's customer service staff are available via online chat, the Spark app and website
• Spark's Willis St and Queensgate stores in Wellington, Moorhouse Ave store in Christchurch and Blenheim store will be closed tomorrow
• Evacuations have been reported in Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Wellington, Manawatu, Wanganui and the Chatham Islands.
• Christchurch residents are now able to go home.
• Christchurch's Linwood College at 85 Aldwins Rd was set up for overnight accommodation, Akaroa School Hall is also open for people who need somewhere to go in the peninsula.
• Marlborough - Emergency Response Centres are at Okiwi Bay Fire Station/Community Hall, Rai Valley School, Canvastown Te Hora Marae, Havelock School, Okaramio Community Hall, Renwick Community Hall, Wairau School/Community Hall, Linkwater Community Hall/Fire Station, Picton's Waikawa Marae, Rarangi Community Hall/Fire Station, Riverlands School, Seddon School, Ward Town Hall.
• Helpline for visitors to Marlborough who are stranded and require travel assistance - 0800 777 181.
• Around 80 people have escaped their severely damaged homes and are at Ward Community Centre in Marlborough.
• Leithfield School in North Canterbury is filling with families seeking refuge.
• Wellington - Biz Dojo is open now for people living in the CBD, and Houghton Valley School near the south coast is also open.
• Likelihood 80% and greater
A normal aftershock sequence that is spread over the next few months. Felt aftershocks greater than magnitude 5 would occur from the epicentre near Culverden in the next few weeks and months. This is the most likely scenario.
• Likelihood 60% and greater
The rupture of earthquakes at magnitude 6 in the North Canterbury and Marlborough regions will occur, as well as potentially offshore in Southern Cook Strait and offshore Kaikoura.
• Likelihood less than 40%
The least likely scenario is that in the next month longer known faults would rupture with magnitude 7 quakes in the Marlborough and Cook Strait regions.
Aftershocks could occur anywhere in the upper South Island.