Thousands of Kiwis who have evacuated coastal areas are being urged to stay put - as a tsunami warning continues to loom; after three monster earthquakes struck early this morning.
Those who have left their homes for higher ground or further inland are being told that they may need to stay away for several hours yet; as authorities continue to monitor the situation.
Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan called for people to stay calm, to heed messages from Civil Defence authorities and to reach out to loved ones who are affected.
She said it had been an "extraordinary morning" for people all around the country whose ordeal first started when a 7.1 magnitude quake struck off the North Island shortly before 2.30am.
Two others would follow; the third and strongest being an 8.1 magnitude quake that hit near the Kermadec Islands just before 8.30am.
"People have done...the right thing in the regions; by picking up, packing up and by and large staying calm."
Allan urged those who might start to get tired or bored to stay away from their homes still until they are given the all-clear by officials.
Allan said asking people to evacuate was never done lightly.
So the assessments done on who needed to leave their homes was done on a "risk to life" threat.
Emergency evacuations override Covid-19 alert levels
Thousands of Kiwis have evacuated their homes - from the Bay of Islands to Whāngārei, from Matatā to Tolaga Bay and Great Barrier Island.
By midday, people had started to post videos online of huge wave surges off Tokomaru Bay.
Roger Ball, of the National Emergency Management Agency, told Newstalk ZB that surges of between 1 to 3m are expected.
On top of the high tides, that can be dangerous, he said.
"It can take lives and cause great damage. We want people to take this seriously."
Allan touched on how people would be feeling at the moment - acknowledging how tough it is already.
"It's absolutely natural in these times to feel high degrees of anxiety," she said.
People are also reminded that the emergency evacuations override the current Covid-19 alert level rules.
The most people are asked to do is to keep 2m away from others, if possible.
The latest alert issued by the National Emergency Management Agency, at 10.44am, says they have issued a tsunami warning for New Zealand coastal areas after the 8.1 magnitude quake near the Kermadec Islands region.
"An [Emergency Management Agency alert] has been issued to areas under land and marine tsunami threat."
Aucklanders warned to stay away from the water
In Auckland, people are being told to stay out and away from the sea, rivers and estuaries. That alert was for boaties too.
Aucklanders received an emergency alert on their cellphones at 11.35am.
"Civil Defence tsunami warning: This is a beach and marine tsunami threat for all Auckland coastal areas," the text read.
The strongest of this morning's quakes could lead to "unusual currents and unpredictable surges" near the shore in Auckland, it said.
As a result, that meant a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities.