One Dunedin man has taken to Twitter to recount how an earthquake once knocked him off the toilet – mid-stream – at a pub in Fox Glacier.

Photographer Paul Le Comte posted his Tweet shortly after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit near Taumarunui in a bid to cheer others up.

He said he noticed how the quake – which shook much of the lower North Island and upper South Island – had started to dredge up painful memories for those on Twitter who had been through recent shocks in Kaikoura, Christchurch and Wellington.

"I thought it was nice to give a slightly light-hearted take," he said.


Le Comte's first funny memory happened when he was a kid growing up in Hokitika in the mid-1980s and a quake struck while he was reading in bed.

"I must have been on the edge of the bed because I heard the quake coming and the next minute I'm in exactly the same position except on the floor still holding the book," he said.

"It took a second to work out what had just happened.

"It must have been one of those flip-jolty ones that just threw me up in the air."

Not long after in the early 90s, Le Comte and some buddies had travelled to Fox Glacier and were enjoying a few drinks at the pub when another quake hit all of a sudden.

This time the quake caught Le Comte with his pants down – literally sitting on the toilet.

"I was sitting on the toilet and the quake threw me off," he said.

"I got up and went into the bar thinking everyone is going to be talking about this and yet nobody was."

"I was like: 'Did I really just experience that - was my drink spiked?'"

He said it must have been a big party that night for no one to have felt the shock because the next day he read in the paper that a 5.6 or greater quake had hit right below the pub.

Le Comte said he hoped he made people smile with his stories because he knew how bad quakes could be, especially as his parents had been hit hard in Christchurch.

Based in Dunedin, he said he didn't feel today's quake but his neighbour did.

Having been through so many before, he said he also didn't take chances anymore and was busy filling 30 3L bottles with water when the Herald called him shortly after the quake hit.

"We do this every time there is a big quake – I'm always prepared now," he said.