* A massive 7.1 magnitude quake has struck off New Zealand's east coast
* The quake struck at 2.27am and was widely felt across the North Island and parts of the South Island
* 'Terrifying', 'Oh my god', 'Biggest one I've ever felt': Residents tell of horror of shaking
* PM Jacinda Ardern: "[I] hope everyone is OK out there."
A beach and marine warning has been lifted for large swathes of the North Island and evacuated residents can return home following a 7.1 earthquake early on Friday, emergency officials say.
The National Emergency Management Agency had earlier issued a tsunami activity warning for New Zealand coastal areas following the magnitude 7.1 quake off East Cape.
People near the upper east coast from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay had earlier been advised to move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.
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Just after 5am, that warning was eased, with no threat likely for land areas - evacuated people could return home.
And at 6.01am, marine and beach wave warnings were eased for the Bay of Plenty, the East Coast, Mahia, the Chathams, and Great Barrier Island.
Advice for people living in all coast areas:
- nzherald.co.nz will bring live updates as they happen;
- Listen to Newstalk ZB and/or TV for updates, and NZCivilDefence Twitter;
- Listen to local Civil Defence authorities;
- Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, this includes boats);
- Stay off beaches and shore areas;
- Do not go sightseeing;
- Share this information with family, neighbours and friends.