Surfing, fishing continues despite tsunami warnings

(Photo: 3 News)
(Photo: 3 News)

The tsunami warnings along New Zealand's East Coast following the earthquake in Chile were cancelled this afternoon.

But the warnings did little to deter keen surfers like Jack Blackman from the beach.

"It was just a nice morning and I had the day off so might as well make the most of it," he says.

Just up the coast at the Waimakariri River mouth, whitebaiters had their nets set, also undeterred by the stirred up conditions created by the increased swell.

Others had heard the warnings and they just weren't heeding them.

The first waves hit the East Coast about 1am, and some boats moored at Tutukaka were knocked around as heavy currents barrelled into the local marina.

The biggest waves recorded along the East Coast were 30 centimetres above normal.

It was the Chatham Islands that saw the biggest waves just before midnight yesterday; locals have reported seeing the sea surge out and expose the reef before waves of up to half-a-metre higher than normal hit the coast

Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black says for the most part, people did stay away from the beach while the warnings were in place.

But those who chose to block out the advice put themselves in danger.

"If somebody's standing in the water it might look relatively calm from the shoreline but there might be strong currents underneath which is why we say avoid being in the water at all."

Although the warnings were lifted mid-afternoon, Civil Defence says people should still take avoid the surf for the 36 hours while the tides and currents remain unpredictable.

3 News