22 Oct 2011

New Zealand tsunami threat cancelled

3:56 pm on 22 October 2011

Civil Defence has cancelled a tsunami advisory triggered by an earthquake in the Kermadec Islands on Saturday.

However, it says swimmers, divers and recreational boat users should stay alert for unusual tidal patterns or abnormally strong currents.

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck 230km east of Raoul Island - which is about halfway between New Zealand and Tonga - at 6.57am at a depth of 16km.

The ministry says the New Zealand Tsunami Experts Panel has convened and advised there is no threat to New Zealand.

The National Crisis Management Centre was being activated, but has now been stood down.

GNS Science seismologist Martin Reyners says the earthquake is too small to generate any impact on currents and there should be no impact on swimmers, divers and recreational boat users.

Mr Reyners says the earthquake was felt along eastern New Zealand, as far south as Christchurch.

The Department of Conservation says it has heard from the eight people at its station on Raoul Island and they are all safe and well.

Department of Conservation spokesperson Liz Maire says the team have been on the island for nearly a year working on a restoration programme.

She says they've been in contact with them today via email and skype, and have confirmed they're all fine and there is no damage to any infrastructure.

The Civil Defence Ministry says the clean-up and salvage operation in response to the grounding of the Rena container ship off the Bay of Plenty coast will not be affected by the earthquake.

The earthquake was originally reported at magnitude 7.3.