Magnitude 7.1 earthquake strikes off New Zealand

We'll bring all the latest on the developments.

A 7.1 magnitude natural disaster in New Zealand has triggered tsunami activity.

A short while after the quake struck, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management warned of the potential of a tsunami hitting coastal areas.

A large undersea quake off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. Auckland Transport is organising more buses to pick people up and advice is to take alternative transport.

Lodge owner John Campbell said residents were initally shaken and it was now a waiting game. - Several 30cm surges have been experienced. "This means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities".

The Gisborne District Council have urged people living along the coast to evacuate and move to higher ground while the Civil Defence are warning people to do the same according to Radio NZ.

Schools in the region would be open on Friday, except for Tolaga Bay Area School, which had made an early call on school buses. - People in coastal areas should note that tsunami currents and surges are possible for the next 24 hours.

"That's one of the biggest we've felt in a while around here".

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In 2011, the city of Christchurch on South Island was devastated by a magnitude 6.3 quake that left 185 people dead.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management is warning a destructive tsunami is possible following the natural disaster which struck off the East Cape. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

In a statement Civil Defence confirmed that following instructions from local civil defence authorities, some ome communities north of Gisborne self-evacuated following the natural disaster "which was the right thing to do".

In New Zealand, where earthquakes are common, Civil Defence regularly holds practice drills for coastal residents so they know how to react in an emergency.

Luckily, the time is 4:37 am in New Zealand.

A powerful quake struck off the coast of New Zealand but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The warning remains in place for the East Coast of North Island.

"That did cross my mind - the Christchurch natural disaster - I wondered how they feel".

The quake at 4.37am struck northeast of Te Araroha at a depth of 55km.

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