Watch: Unusual waves, surges recorded around Northland after series of earthquakes spark tsunami warning

Gripping footage shows a large wave rushing towards the beach and tides swirling in a harbour as Kiwis run for the hills following a tsunami warning for much of the North Island.

Multiple powerful earthquakes struck off the coast of New Zealand on Friday morning, rattling the majority of the North Island and causing a widespread tsunami warning.

People near the coast from the Bay of Islands and Whangarei, between Matata and Tolaga Bay, and on Great Barrier Island must immediately evacuate to higher ground.

From their perches atop hills, Kiwis have been filming as the water appears to rise.

One video supplied to Newshub shows boats bobbing in the water of Tutukaka as the water swirls through the harbour.

Another shows a large wave coasting towards the coast of Tokomaru Bay. 

The footage follows a magnitude 8.1 earthquake near the Kermadec Islands. That was the third major quake of the day after a 7.4 magnitude shake near the Kermadec and a 7.1 quake east of the North Island.

A number of warnings are in place - a comprehensive list of these can be found on