The New Zealand government on Friday announced to lift evacuation orders and asked "all people who evacuated can now return" after three strong offshore quakes jolted the North Island one after another overnight.
A few hours ago, the National Emergency Management Agency urged local people to move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible and not to stay at home until further message from the authorities, following a magnitude 8.1 earthquake near the Kermadec Islands on Friday morning local time.
Previously, another 7.4-magnitude quake jolted Raoul Island, the largest island of the Kermadec Islands, at 6:41 a.m. local time. Large coastal areas including the north and the east part of the North Island were affected.
Another massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled at 2:27 a.m. local time, about 95 km east of Te Araroa, the far northeast point of the North Island of New Zealand, causing "severe" shaking and sparking tsunami warnings, reported GeoNet NZ.
The quake was defined as "terrifying" and "biggest one I've ever felt" by locals, causing severe shaking felt throughout much of the country.
Trains were halted and lines across eastern parts of the North Island closed ahead of track inspection for possible quake damage.