The impacts of Monday morning's earthquake were felt most severely and tragically in North Canterbury - but the rest of New Zealand has also been hit in various ways.


Tsunami sirens were activated in Northland from 1am as a precaution. Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) advised people on the coast to head to higher ground or as far inland as possible, although some people did the complete opposite and headed to the coast for a good look, said Kaitaia police Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Wihongi.

"If there's a tsunami alert people should not head to the coast to have a look, but get to higher ground as soon as possible," she said.


Northland CDEM group spokesman Graeme MacDonald said the sirens were sounded for a reason and were a warning for people to seek further information.

"Going down to the coast, people should not do that and put their lives in jeopardy," he said. "If we had what happened in the Kaikoura and people were standing on the coast, it beggars belief."

Meanwhile on the Karikari Peninsula some slept through the sirens.

Bay of Plenty

Many residents slept through Bay of Plenty Civil Defence text alerts warning a tsunami could be on its way.

As a result, there has been widespread criticism about the lack of tsunami sirens in Papamoa, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.

The Coromandel town of Whangamata was roused from their beds at 2am by tsunami sirens and most made their way to higher ground, though few had emergency kits ready.

Many felt the shaking though, such as Mount Maunganui resident Kelly-Anne Foley and her family. "My daughter [14] was genuinely freaked out for the first time ever, seeing and feeling everything in her bedroom wobbling and moving."


A land threat was issued for the East Coast from Muriwai and Gisborne to Hicks Bay, and a beach and land threat for the whole of the east coast of New Zealand.

Tairawhiti Emergency Management was activated and in a media release at 3.20am advised people in low-lying areas of the region to move to higher ground because of a potential tsunami. However, this was called off at 4am.

Hawke's Bay

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was the longest quake he had felt.

"It was very long and severe. To have felt it like that when the earthquake was so far away, meant it was a very big quake."

He noted that it took some time for the information to come through about the potential risk in Hawke's Bay, due to early reports that the earthquake was land-based and as such did not equate to immediate tsunami concerns.

"But then Geonet said the fault line went out to sea - an hour later we had a tsunami warning and then had to work out how big it was."

He said it took a while to get the message out to the Red Zone areas of Te Awanga, Waimarama, Ocean Beach and one street in Westshore. "Council staff went around with loudspeakers on vehicles to those Red Zone areas, although a lot of people had self-evacuated."

Seaside communities of Haumoana, Clifton and Te Awanga had a sleepless night after a tsunami warning was issued, with many of them self-evacuating to the Haumoana School Hall.

Cape Coast civil defence co-ordinator Jane Grant said around 300 people spent the night at the school - the area's Civil Defence Emergency Centre.

Coastal communities in Central Hawke's Bay, from Kairakau to Whangaehu, were either evacuated or self-evacuated.

In Napier, many residents moved to the higher ground of Bluff Hill.

The Taradale Memorial Clock Tower was once again shaken to a halt, with the hands poised at 12.10am.


Power was cut to thousands, there was discolouration in the city water supply and two buildings were closed for safety reasons.

Around 8000 Whanganui properties were without power for anywhere up to five hours after the quake.

Powerco network coordination manager Dean Stevenson said the earthquake had caused overhead power lines to clash, triggering supply to automatically shut off. This was also the cause of the flashing lights and explosion-type sounds that people heard straight after the earthquake.

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said there had been no reports of major damage in the Whanganui district.

However, the Bastia Hill Tower shed a considerable amount of concrete during the earthquake. Blocks of concrete up to 30cm across were strewn across the road below the tower; some were embedded in the grass.

A Bastia Ave resident, who did not wish to be named, said the tower made a lot of noise during the quake. "It was making loud cracking noises, like rifle shots."


KiwiRail cancelled trains on the North Island Main Trunk Line south of Palmerston North. Bunnythorpe was reportedly without power from 12am-6am.

A resident on Buick Crescent in Palmerston North said her neighbours ran onto the road to seek safety, while many others reported huddling under doorways.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said she threw up and almost lost consciousness. She described being absolutely terrified and felt unprepared for a major disaster.


Cracks were discovered in the road at Johnson's Hill, near Ngawi, when South Wairarapa District Council staff checked out the district's roading and bridge network at first light.

Council chief executive Paul Crimp said urgent measures were in place to try to seal the cracks prior to expected heavy rain arriving, as a downpour could result in much more damage occurring.


The TSB Arena and BNZ Centre sustained the most damage. There was damage to wharves and the Inter Islander terminal, and the Tory Channel remained closed.

Shipping workers were forced to flee the Kings Wharf freight shipping terminal in Wellington after cracks began appearing and water spurted from beneath them.

The Wellington's CBD was open for business this morning but the city remained a bit of a ghost town. Several streets, including Featherston Street, were still closed because of the risk of falling glass.

Added to the quake woes, roads were closed and commuters have been delayed as heavy rain causes surface flooding in Wellington.


Dunedin Civil Defence Emergency Management (DCDEM) declared a state of emergency over the tsunami risk and co-ordinated the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, including Waikouaiti, Karitane, Waitati, Brighton and parts of Otago Peninsula.

Members of the public also took the decision to evacuate after reading or hearing national warnings to move to higher ground.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said there was "confusion" in the South Dunedin area as people were unsure whether they should evacuate.

After a national call for people living in low-lying areas to evacuate, many residents got in their cars and found higher ground, whether that was a car park or a family member's house.

At 3am, the DCDEM put out an alert saying that protection from the dunes meant South Dunedin was not at risk.

About 50 people in the Clutha district, including campers, used evacuation centres set up by the Clutha District Council at Owaka, Taieri Mouth and Tokomairiro Mouth.

Waitaki District Council spokeswoman Alena Lynch said no official evacuations were conducted along the North Otago coast.

However, the Kakanui community set off its tsunami warning alarm about 4am.