A strong earthquake has shaken the lower half of New Zealand’s North Island, bringing appliances down and knocking power out for a while in the town of Eketahuna, as well as causing property damage between Wellington and Manawatu.
The earthquake struck about 3.52pm (1352 AEDT), was of a 6.2 magnitude and was centred 15km east of Eketahuna, about 40km north of Masterton, at a depth of 33km, according to revised data from GNS Science.
Gas Eketahuna Service Station owner Lisa Seator says power was knocked out for about 15 minutes in the town, and her business had suffered damage.
“The microwave’s ended up in the middle of the floor and we had fridges tipped over here,” she told NZ Newswire.
“We’ve also had reports of a fire at the substation, which might have been what took the power out.”
Ms Seator said the forecourt was crowded with people coming to get some supplies.
“It was very violent and went on for quite a while,” she said.
“It gave us a good shake, but I haven’t heard of anybody injured as yet.”
Several items were reported to have fallen off shelves in Palmerston North, while in Wellington a large model of a giant eagle from The Hobbit which was hanging in the airport dining area has fallen.
Tranz Metro has suspended all train services in Wellington.
Wellington regional civil defence controller Bruce Pepperell said he’d received no reports of damage in his area other than the fallen eagle at the airport.
“There’s been limited damage in Palmerston North and lower Hawke’s Bay with the odd chimney and things like that,” he told AAP.
“Other than giving us a really good rattle, there’s no damage south of Eketahuna that I’m aware of.”
At least seven aftershocks, one as high as a magnitude 4.5, have been recorded since the main quake.
Sergeant Pete Theobald of police communications said most calls reporting damage which they had taken were from around the Eketahuna area, and they were still assessing how widespread it was.