The magnitude 7.1 East Cape earthquake at 4.37am on Friday proved to be the ultimate wake-up call 500km away in Napier where an antique grandfather clock burst back into life having otherwise apparently ticked it's last tock more than a year-and-a-half ago.

The uncanny step back in time at the Mission Estate vineyards cellar in Taradale was first noticed by a cleaner when she walked into the room and the clock began chiming.

"As we arrived, she said, come in here and have a look ... Do you notice anything different," said cellar assistant Kathy Smith, who lives nearby in Taradale and was already awake when the quake struck.

She said the clock, the workings of which could be over 200 years old, stopped working more than 18 months ago. When repairs were unable to get it going again, it was left to stand as a monument to time.


Yesterday, good old Father Time needed little further encouragement, being tenderly but quickly reset to the correct time, and by late afternoon was still ticking and chiming as prescribed when built, apparently quite some time before being installed at the Mission with the opening of the seminary in 1890.

There's no known haunting going on around there, and Kathy Smith said it was "too much of a coincidence" for the clock to have been restarted by anything other than the earthquake.

Hundreds of people in Hawke's Bay were woken by the earthquake which was felt at least as far away as Northland and the West Coast of the South Island.

A tsunami warning was issued for areas from the East Cape to Northland after the first shake recorded at a depth of 22km with an epicentre 125km northeast of the East Coast settlement of Te Araroa.

There were initial fears of water more than a metre high washing the shores, but waves rose only to about 30cm. Although a Civil Defence warning was cancelled, residents were still being warned up to about 9am to avoid the coastline.

By early last night, more than 100 aftershocks had been recorded, some also measuring over 5 on the Richter scale. There had been nine in the Te Araroa area in an hour up to 6.20pm.

Civil Defence said there had been no reports of major damage or injuries, but there had been reports of chimney damage and other damage to fallen items.
There were no quake emergencies declared in Hawke's Bay.