Three earthquakes hit off New Zealand's coastal areas, residents warned to avoid coast

Sunday, March 7, 2021

On Friday, after three earthquakes hit near both the Kermadec Islands and about 105 km off New Zealand's east coast, people across New Zealand were instructed by the government to stay away from beach and shore areas.

The first earthquake hit at 2:27 AM local time at a depth of 10km, and registered 7.1 according to Radio New Zealand. It was felt across the North Island and parts of the South Island. Two 7.4 and 8.1 earthquakes were recorded near the Kermadec Islands by New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Radio New Zealand reported more than a dozen aftershocks, some as strong as 5.4, were recorded.

NEMA had issued a warning around 9:45 AM there was a land and marine threat and flooding was expected on the Northland coast from Cape Reinga to Whangārei and Ahipara, as well as New Zealand's East Coast from Matata to Tolaga Bay. However, this advice was later revised. At 2:48 PM, the tsunami warning was cancelled. The newer notifications mentioned "Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges will continue for up to another 24 hours", and residents were instructed to "remain vigilant and take extra precautions".

On Instagram, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted "Hope everyone is OK out there – especially on the East Coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake". Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan stated in a press conference all of Ōpōtiki had been evacuated, and "people have done the right things in the regions by picking up and packing up and staying calm."