Breathe a sigh of relief New Zealand, there is no current earthquake event in the Kermadec Islands.

The Civil Defence this afternoon tweeted and sent automatic alerts - including phone calls - saying it was assessing whether a 6.6 magnitude earthquake could set off a tsunami in New Zealand.

However those alerts were based on old information.

Civil Defence reported the incident on Twitter, quickly deleting the first tweet and replacing it with another apologising for the mistake.

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"The tweet we have deleted related to an old earthquake notification," it said.

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) communications manager Anthony Frith said they were looking into what caused the false alarm.

"A notification of an old earthquake was issued - that is, the system duplicated and issued an old message. We are looking into what caused this."

Located northeast of the North Island, the Kermadec Islands are around 800 to 1000km away.

The islands are of volcanic origin and are uninhabited, except for Raoul Island where a team of Department of Conservation staff carry out weed control work.

To reiterate, there is no tsunami threat for New Zealand.


Hawaii false alarm

In January last year, an alert was issued via the Emergency Alert System in Hawaii over a false ballistic missile alert, sending the island into a panic.

The alert aired over television, radio and cellphones, reporting there was an incoming ballistic missile threat to Hawaii and advising people to seek shelter, including the message "this is not a drill".

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The employee who sent out the false alert was fired and the emergency management administrator of the state resigned.

Emergency Management Administrator Vern Miyagi, who appeared alongside Hawaii Governor David Ige as they tried to calm the panicked state that day has resigned from his position.

It went uncorrected for 38 minutes until a second alert was sent out to confirm it was a false alarm.

Alerts in the Hawaii incident. Photo / File
Alerts in the Hawaii incident. Photo / File