Two 'severe' quakes rock North Island, no tsunami threat

  • Updated
  • 26/04/2023

Two severe earthquakes have shaken the North Island within minutes of each other, sending items flying out of cupboards at a school near the epicentre.

There is no tsunami threat from the quakes, National Emergency Management Agency confirmed.

The first quake was magnitude 5.9 and struck near Pōrangahau in Hawke's Bay at 10:19am.

GeoNet categorised the 22km deep quake as 'severe'.

A 5.3-magnitude aftershock in the same location struck about four minutes after the initial quake. It was 15km deep and also categorised as severe.

More than 20,000 people from Dunedin to Northland reported feeling the quakes.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) spokesperson told Newshub they haven't received reports of damage.

GeoNet analysis

GNS duty seismologist Katie Jacobs told Newshub it was a "relatively shallow event".

"It occurred along the Hikurangi subduction zone, it's an area [where] frequent earthquakes activity [occur]."

GeoNet said just three minutes later a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit and smaller magnitude quakes followed.

Jacobs said aftershocks aren't unusual.

"Both earthquakes were felt widely throughout the North Island."

It received over 22,000 felt reports for the 5.9 magnitude quake.

Students, teachers 'rattled'

Students and teachers at Pōrangahau School were "rattled" by the earthquakes that struck on Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for the school told Newshub students and teachers earlier evacuated to the local hall in case of any tsunami risk, but have since returned.

They told Newshub items flew off cupboards.

Duke Hotel staff member Robert Houkamau told Newshub the second floor of the accommodation has been "turned upside down" with beer and glass bottles everywhere.

"It was intense shaking and my legs won't stop shaking. I can't believe it."

Two 'severe' quakes rock North Island, no tsunami threat
Photo credit: Supplied

'Shaking like mad'

Iron Museum owner Hans Dresel was making his morning coffee on Wednesday when the quake struck.

"It started to shake and I thought 'oh shit, I'm in the wrong space'," he told Newshub.

"I was just sitting in the chair and I was waiting and thought, 'no, there's nothing that can fall one me'.

"But as the shaking continued Dresel said he moved undercover.

Dresel told Newshub he closely watched his iron collection and everything "was shaking like mad".

"Then I heard irons falling down."

He said only one iron had broken as a result.

Former cricketer Ian Smith was broadcasting his radio show in Hawke's Bay when the quake hit.

"Gosh we are just having a massive earthquake in Hawke's Bay," he said live on air.

"My goodness that's a massive earthquake, it is still shaking. Holy heck I have never commentated on an earthquake before."

Social media reacts

Kiwis have also taken to social media to share their experience of the quake.

More to come.