• A number of multi-story buildings have received damage - both internally and structurally
• Glass from buildings has fallen into a number of central-city streets
• Hundreds of CBD residents have self-evacuated and are in safe areas of the city
• Power is off in isolated areas of the Wellington region.

People who usually work in central Wellington are strongly urged to stay home today owing to potential damage to buildings and disruptions to public transport, Wellington City Council says.

Wellington Regional Civil Defence Controller Bruce Pepperell says early indications are that a number of major buildings are showing "signs of structural stress" and that the strong quake will likely have caused a mess and disruption inside some buildings - particularly on higher floors.

Wellington's suburban rail network will not be operating until further notice while rail tracks, bridges and tunnels are checked. Bus services are also not expected to be able to compensate for the train cancellations.


The Fire Service says TSB Arena and BNZ Centre on Wellington's waterfront have sustained most damage

Many buildings will have to be checked for damage.

Staff of central Wellington organisations are advised to stay home and get in touch with their employers for further instructions.

Widespread liquefaction has been reported on reclaimed land around the waterfront - and reported damage to waterfront buildings.

Hotel guests or apartment dwellers who are out of doors in the Wellington CBD after this morning's earthquakes can find temporary refuge at the BizDojo Centre, 115 Tory Street.

Temporary refuge is also available, slightly further out of town, at Houghton Valley School.

Meanwhile, residents of beachfront or coastal areas are urged to stay inland or on high ground due to the continuing threat of a tsunami following this morning's earthquakes.

The advice from the Ministry of Civil Defence is that people living in the tsunami 'red zone' - very close to sea level or adjacent to beaches and the coast - should evacuate inland or to higher ground until further notice.


Affected spots include seaside areas of Wellington's south coast, Seatoun and Eastbourne.
The Wellington City Council Emergency Operations Centre and the Wellington Region ECC has been activated following the earthquake just after midnight.