New Zealand’s emergency management agency says there is no risk of a tsunami hitting the country after a large quake southeast of Loyalty Islands.
Civil Defence had earlier said if a tsunami had been generated from the magnitude 7.4 quake it would not have been set to arrive in New Zealand for at least 1 hour.
This comes after several coastal areas in the far North were put under alert by the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) after an earthquake north of New Zealand.
The 7.7 magnitude quake struck southeast of the Loyalty Islands just before 3pm yesterday, also triggering a tsunami threat for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.
Nema had warned the first tsunami activity could reach New Zealand’s shores by 5pm, around North Cape, saying it could bring unusual currents and unpredictable surges.
Ahipara resident Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera said swells and surges began to hit his hometown in the evening. Video captured by Goodhue-Wikitera shows the moment the wave swept inland, leaving a trail of debris in its wake.
“I was pretty stressed from like, probably around 7.30pm when it started crashing up onto the footpath,” Goodhue-Wikitera said.
“Then at 8.30pm there was a massive wave and it went all the way up and over the coastal road ... 10m-15m inland.”
“So there was lots of debris on the road and the fire engine came down - it was pretty scary.”
Fire and Emergency New Zealand last night said they attended the scene after the big wave.
“We currently have one crew in attendance in Ahipara after reports of big swells and flooding over the road,” a spokesman said around 9pm.
Goodhue-Wikitera said their home is exposed, being located across the road from the beach and next to a creek.
When it rains, the creek fills up and sometimes it can flood onto the property, while swells from the beach can also sometimes wash in and raise the creek’s water levels.
That meant Goodhue-Wikitera stayed on watch during an anxious night.
“I stayed up on lookout to midnight, just watching the water, and then after that the tide receded and it eased.”
Fire crews had earlier told them they could go to the marae if they needed to evacuate.
Goodhue-Wikitera said the swells and waves washing into Ahipara last night were “much, much worse” than those that came in after Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year.
They said they didn’t yet know whether any homes had been damaged but were about to go out for a walk this morning to see.
Nema eventually lifted its warning to stay away from beaches and out of the water along much of New Zealand’s coasts at about 9.45pm yesterday.