New Zealand hit by 'severe' earthquake
What we know:
- A 'severe' 5.5 earthquake has hit central New Zealand this afternoon.
- The quake was 35km east of Seddon at a depth of 17km.
- Almost 7000 people have reported feeling the earthquake, according to GeoNet.
- No reports or calls to either Wellington Free Ambulance or St John central communications.
- A couple of aftershocks have hit the Seddon region since, including a 4.8 at 4pm (NZtime).
A 'severe' 5.5 earthquake has hit central New Zealand this afternoon.
The quake was 35km east of Seddon at a depth of 17km.
The earthquake was felt in Wellington.
Almost 7000 people have reported feeling the earthquake, according to GeoNet, with reports coming from as far away as Christchurch and the central North Island.
Michael Duncan was upstairs in his 1924-built house in Wanganui East and watching the cricket when the jolt hit, Kurt Bayer reports.
"The rubble started and I thought it was just a bus going by but then I heard creaks in the house and thought, 'Oh my goodness, this is another quake'. It went for some time," he said.
Samantha McCluskey was in her Petone lounge when the "very strong" quake shook her house "violently for perhaps 10-15 seconds".
Her initial thought was, 'Oh here we go again', and hoped it wasn't a repeat of last month's giant tremor.
It was the biggest shake he'd felt since the magnitude-7.8 quake of November 14.
There have been no reports or calls to either Wellington Free Ambulance or St John central communications.
A couple of aftershocks have hit the Seddon region since the quake struck at 3.34pm, including a 3.8 magnitude and a 3.3 magnitude, according to GeoNet.
On August 16, 2013, an 8km deep magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck just offshore from Seddon.
It caused significant damage to houses and infrastructure in the region and sent workers in Wellington running into the streets as the ground shook and buildings swayed from side to side.
Another quake on July 21, 2013, which was 13km deep magnitude 6.5 and centred in the Cook Strait, caused damage to several homes in Seddon and several buildings in the Wellington CBD, with glass from broken windows falling onto Lambton Quay.
Patrons at the Embassy Theatre fled the building as the earthquake struck just as their movie was starting, said one person on social media.
Half the audience has bailed from the Embassy Theatre just as Moana starts after that 5.6 shake #eqnz
Shaken residents have taken to Twitter to tweet their fright following the quake.
One Wellingtonian linked the shake as being akin to Miley Cyrus' trademark dance move.
Others commented on their dishes being thrown, houses shaking and the earth rolling.