Six Rotorua people were at a Bali nightclub when a deadly earthquake struck Indonesia, killing at least 91 people and leaving dozens injured.
Rotorua freelance photographer Peter Graney has told of his shock as the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck early last night.
Graney has told the Rotorua Daily Post this morning he and five other locals who either live or who have lived in Rotorua, were on the top floor of a Bali nightclub celebrating a birthday when the quake hit the tourist island. He didn't name the other locals.
"At first we were unsure what was going on as the building slowly swayed. Then the intensity rapidly increased and we realised we were in a major earthquake situation. People started crying around us and running for the exits.
"We quickly decided the exits were narrow and joining the stampede towards the stairs was unwise. The extreme shaking went on for about a minute and at that stage it was obvious that being four storeys up with restricted exits was problematic."
The Herald's deputy travel editor, Stephanie Holmes, told Newstalk ZB this afternoon she felt "light" shaking while dining in a Bali resturant.
"It seemed pretty light at first and it kept going and the restaurant staff evacuated everyone.
It was quite unsettling. Everyone [the staff] was doing a good job of keeping everyone calm," she said.
Holmes said Bali seemed to escape most of the damage Lombok suffered in the quake, noting the centre of the island "seems to be okay".
Graney said with the knowledge the building had held up well the group decided to stay where they were.
"Then about 15 minutes later a second earthquake hit. Less intense but frightening. We decided to try for the exit. The staff member near the exit yelled to get out before another panic rush."
He said when they got to the street to their surprise restaurants and nightclubs were operating and music kept playing. However, hotels had evacuated their guests and large groups were standing around, some with their suitcases packed.
"The taxi we grabbed wanted double the normal fare which we gladly paid. When we exited our taxi tourists were walking around in shock. Many talking about their hotel having cracks and unsure if they could return to sleep," Graney said.
This afternoon, he was about to catch a one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur - his only way out of the area quickly.
He said other families with young children were also trying to get out.
"I need to get out of here as I'm unsure of aftershocks that seem to be most hours but not that big. At the Bali airport I spoke to fellow passengers.
"Many said they slept at the airport as their rooms in Kuta were a mess with fallen items. Many said their hotels had some minor structual damage."
The latest quake, which triggered a brief tsunami warning, damaged buildings as far away as Denpasar on Bali, including a department store and the airport terminal, where ceiling panels were shaken loose, authorities said.
Disaster agency officials have put the death toll at 91.
The earthquake is at a depth of 10.5km in the northern part of Lombok.
The tsunami warning was lifted after waves just 15cm high were recorded in three villages, said the head of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati.