• A major 8.3 quake rattled Chileans just before 11am today
• Five people have been killed and one person has been listed as missing
• A 15.3-foot wave has hit Chile's coast following the quake
• The Ministry of Civil Defence issued a tsunami warning for Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne Coast, Napier/Hastings Coast, Christchurch North Coast, Banks Peninsula, Mid to South Canterbury Coast, and Chatham Island.
• Kiwis in Chile said that the quake was 'intense and frightening'
Shaken Kiwis have described the terror of the huge Chilean earthquake and ongoing trauma of aftershocks as people across the Pacific brace for possible tsunamis.
The magnitude 8.3 quake has so far killed five people and forced a million others to evacuate as tsunami waves lashed the South American nation's coastline.
Mary Ponce, a New Zealander living in the capital Santiago, said the experience when the huge quake hit was "intense and frightening".
"It was the first really strong quake we have felt since moving here over a month ago," she said.
Ms Ponce had been having afternoon tea with friends at the time.
"We gathered together in the stairwell of our apartment building and waited for my husband to come up the stairs ... when he arrived back up we packed up the kids, our emergency bags, and headed downstairs nine floors down," she added.
The quake's epicentre was about 54km off the Chilean coast, hitting at about 10.54am New Zealand time.
The couple stayed outside and had to wait as the building kept shaking from aftershocks.
They were only allowed back into their apartment some 45 minutes later.
Ms Ponce said she worried about family who were on Easter Island, in the southeast Pacific. She said her Easter Island family had been told to move to higher ground.
The Chilean quake was initially measured at a magnitude of 7.9 but was later upgraded to 8.3, according to the US Geological Survey, and tsunami waves along Chile's coast could reach 3m.
Another New Zealander in Chile said she was still feeling aftershocks three hours after the main quake.
"I live in an old building and it was so loud - unlike anything I have experienced before," Jessica Kaukas wrote.
"Nobody warns you about the motion sickness after experiencing back-to-back earthquakes of over 5 on the Richter scale," she told the Herald.
Ms Kaukas said she was from Auckland and had never before experienced an earthquake.
Former Christchurch man Guy Hodges, who has lived in Chile since 1995, was with his wife and 5-year-old son in Santiago when the quake hit.
The family sought shelter in a doorway as the earth shook for over a minute.
"There have been at least five aftershocks, one strong enough to [make us] scramble for the door again," he said.
Mr Hodges said it wasn't as bad as a 2010 shake he experienced in Santiago with his then pregnant wife.
"This time round, there doesn't seem to be any damage round the city and no major injuries. The cities on the coast have been put on tsunami alert."
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves reaching 30cm to 1m above the tide level were possible in New Zealand.
Waves reaching more than 3m were possible along the Chilean coast, it said.
Warnings were in place for Hawaii, Peru and California.
Communities around East Cape, Wellington, the Far North, Napier and East Auckland might also see the waves, the centre said.
Tsunami warning issued in NZ
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management issued an updated tsunami warning for the Chatham Islands and New Zealand's east coast at 4.15pm.
A 70cm high wave was expected to reach the Chathams as early as 11pm.
On the mainland, areas around East Cape and Gisborne could expect a 30cm high wave about 21 minutes past midnight.
A wave of undetermined height was forecast to hit Wellington at 25 minutes past midnight.
But Cook Strait ferries were not affected and it was business as usual for Interislander, a company spokeswoman said.
Tsunami activity in coastal areas would persist for several hours and Civil Defence authorities said people must regard the threat as real until warnings were cancelled.
The country's west coast was mostly expected to avoid tsunami effects but Ninety Mile Beach could encounter waves between 20cm to 1m high.
Scientific advisers and civil defence personnel were monitoring the situation and expected to update or repeat warnings at least once an hour.
In the Coromandel Peninsula, Mercury Bay Area School had evacuated and teachers and students had moved to Moewai Park, where they would spend the rest of the school day.
Principal John Wright told NZME News Service it was better to be cautious than careless.
"We've got 1000 people on site. So if we get the alert ... then we act. It may well be not necessary, but that's okay."
It was not clear yet if the school would be open tomorrow.
Mr Wright said it was the fourth evacuation in three years but previous evacuations were trials and today's was the first in response to a specific tsunami threat.
In Auckland, no warning was currently in place for the city but authorities were still unsure this afternoon if Great Barrier Island was at risk.
Auckland Council said the first quake-related activities in coastal New Zealand "may not be the most significant" so the public should keep a close eye on updates, which were subject to change.
In Banks Peninsula, one of the areas identified as a "hot spot" likely to feel the tsunami effects, Christchurch Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) was monitoring the tsunami alert.
Christchurch CDEM said it was seeking "more detailed information about the Chilean earthquake and the potential tsunami risk for coastal Banks Peninsula".
Monitoring of the situation would continue throughout the evening.
Meanwhile, people in Banks Peninsula were advised to stay out of the water, including rivers and estuaries.
Christchurch CDEM also advised people against going sightseeing.