TSUNAMI WARNING LATEST
* Swarm of earthquakes in Pacific - including magnitude 8.1 quake in Kermadec Islands at 8.28am (NZT) - spark Civil Defence warnings. There is no report of damage on the Islands at this stage.
* Tsunami warnings for large parts of North Island coast have now been downgraded as the biggest waves have passed. That means anyone who had been evacuated can return home as of 1.30pm
* A Beach and Marine threat is now in place for people in areas that had been evacuated. It means people should still stay away from the beach and shore areas as strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges are still expected.
* Waves and strong currents were seen in multiple locations along the Northland coastline this morning.
* St John originally suspended calls with 2km of affected coastal areas until the extent of the threat was better understood. In Auckland all ferry sailings were cancelled until 2pm and the Britomart train station was closed.
* Evacuation advice superseded Covid rules but people were asked to try to stay 2m away from others if they are evacuating.
* Evacuation orders "not done lightly" and are sent out the on basis of watching tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, an official says. "We want people to take this seriously."
* 8.1 earthquake followed 7.4 shake at 6.41am and 7.3 quake off North Island coast at 2.27am. Many New Zealanders were woken by the shaking that caused some minor damage in some areas, with items falling of shelves at some grocery stores.
AREAS UNDER BEACH AND MARINE THREAT
The West Coast of the North Island from Cape Reinga to Makara, including the West Coast of Auckland, Manukau Harbour, New Plymouth, Whanganui and the Kapiti Coast,
The East Coast of the North Island from Cape Reinga to Lake Ferry, including Whangarei, Great Barrier Island, the East Coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island, Waitemata Harbour, Tauranga, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne and Napier,
The West and South Coasts of the South Island from Farewell Spit to The Catlins, including Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika and Invercargill,
The top of the South Island from Farewell Spit to Port Underwood, including Nelson, Picton and the Marlborough Sounds,
The East Coast of the South Island from the Waipara River to the Rakaia River, including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, and from the Taieri River to The Catlins.
The Stewart and Chatham Islands.
Advice for people in areas still under threat
1)Stay away from the water. Move away from the beach and shore areas and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries.
2) Do not go to the coast to watch the unusual wave activity as there may be dangerous and unpredictable surges.
3) Listen to local civil defence authorities and follow any instructions.
4)Share this information with family, neighbours and friends.
5) You can return home if you were evacuated.
Signs of a Tsunami: Long or Strong, Get Gone
If you're near the coast and experience any of the following:
-Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
-See a sudden rise or fall in sea level
-Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea
Don't wait for an official warning; move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.
Hīkoi not convoy: If possible, run, walk or cycle when evacuating from a tsunami. You don't want to get stuck in traffic in a tsunami zone.