TSUNAMI WARNING LATEST:
• Authorities have cancelled a tsunami advisory for coastal parts of NZ, predominantly in Northland
• It was issued after a 7.7 earthquake near New Caledonia at 2.20am this morning
• Civil Defence says NZ can expect strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore.
• However people in coastal parts of NZ warned to remain cautious for rest of today due to potential for 'large unexpected currents'
People in coastal areas of New Zealand need to remain on alert for the rest of the today after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake southeast of Loyalty Islands, near New Caledonia.
Civil Defence issued a warning early this morning that it expects New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore.
Authorities said just before 9.30am that the tsunami warning had now been cancelled.
"Based on the most recent modelling and decreasing tsunami amplitudes at North Cape, Great Barrier Island and the East Cape, the tsunami threat has passed for New Zealand," the National Emergency Management Agency said.
"There could still be large unexpected currents and the public are advised to continue to take precautions in coastal zones for the rest of today."
Earlier: Warning to stay away from beaches, waterways
People in or near the sea in the following areas had been told to move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas, and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries.
They were the northern tip of the country from Ahipara on the west coast around to the Bay of Islands on the east; Great Barrier Island, and from Matata to Tolaga Bay.
There was no need to evacuate other areas, unless directly advised by local Civil Defence authorities.
Civil Defence Northland said on its Facebook page: "If there had been a threat of land inundation (or) evacuations required, we would have used the more intrusive options - activated the tsunami siren network and sent out phone alerts.
"We had members of our team ready to go on both of these."
The message was posted online after a member of the public commented that they did not know anything about the advisory, despite living next to the water.
Roger Ball, acting director for Civil Defence Emergency Management, said the "very large" quake reported near the Loyalty Islands early this morning had moved officials to take action.
"As a result of that and after assessment by our science advisers, we've issued a national advisory for tsunami activity affecting the shorelines of parts of New Zealand."
Ball reiterated the message to the public to stay out of the water and away from the shore and beaches.
"I think it's important for people just to stay up-to-date with the information as it comes through and if you are aware of people that you may know - family or friends - who may go out for a boating activity or fishing, swimming ... first thing in the morning - please do let them know, if they're in those parts of New Zealand."
Those areas include parts of Northland, the Bay of Plenty and the Gisborne coastline.
"The effects of this will play out probably for a little bit of time and we do want people to stay out of the water and off the beaches."
Flooding of land areas near the shore is not expected as a result of this event.
It says the threat must be regarded as real until this advisory is cancelled.
Earliest wave arrival times
Auckland East: 6.05am
Auckland West: 5.24am
Lottin Point (East Cape): 4.59am
Mt Maunganui: 5.12am
New Plymouth: 6.04 am
North Cape: 4.20am
Port Tauranga: 5.22am
Coastguard warning to boaties
The MetService is also keeping a close eye on the situation this morning. A spokesman said they were monitoring things for Civil Defence purposes.
In Auckland the Coastguard is telling boaties in the potentially threatened areas to get out of the water.
A spokeswoman said they are broadcasting safety warning messages on their radio channels early this morning warning boaties of the potential danger.
No incidents related to the tsunami warning had been reported to the Coastguard as of about 5.30am, she said.
In Wellington there is no need for anyone to evacuate in the region, however the local Emergency Management Office (WREMO), is asking people to beware of water conditions.
Anyone heading out on the water this morning should keep an eye out for strong currents or unusual wave activity.
The US Tsunami Warning System says there's also a potential for tsunami waves of 0.3 to one metre above the tide level, for other regions including Vanuatu and Fiji.
The quake struck about 2.20 this morning New Zealand time, with an epicentre 401km east of Tadine in New Caledonia.
It was at a depth of 33km.
The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre says there's no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.
The full advisory
National Advisory: Tsunami activity – expect strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore
• We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake southeast of Loyalty Islands at 2.20am.
• Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. There is a danger to swimmers, surfers, people fishing, small boats and anyone in or near the water close to shore.
• People in or near the sea in the following areas should move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries.
AREAS UNDER THREAT:
From AHIPARA to BAY OF ISLANDS,
GREAT BARRIER ISLAND and
from MATATA to TOLAGA BAY.
ADVICE FOR PEOPLE IN AREAS UNDER THREAT
STAY OFF THE BEACHES AND SHORE AREAS
• There is no need to evacuate other areas unless directly advised by local civil defence authorities. Coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is not expected as a result of this event. We are advising people to:
• Move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries.
• Do not go to the coast to watch the unusual wave activity as there may be dangerous and unpredictable surges.
• Listen to local civil defence authorities and follow any instructions.
Share this information with family, neighbours and friends.
• The first tsunami activity causing these strong currents and surges may reach New
Zealand in the areas around North Cape at approximately 04:20am New Zealand Daylight Time. This may be later and the first tsunami activity may not be the most significant.
• Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this Advisory is cancelled.
• This National Advisory has been issued following an assessment of information available. The situation may change as new information becomes available.