Tsunami warning for East Coast of the North Island

2 Sep 2016, 6:50 AM

People along Northland's east coast are being warned to stay away from beaches and estuaries as a precaution after an earthquake generated a small tsunami of about 30 centimetres early today.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) has issued a tsunami warning for East Coast of the North Island (including Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty) and Upper South Island. The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group says while at this stage the warning does not extend to Northland, the Ministry has confirmed a tsunami was generated at East Cape and a wave height measuring 30cm had been measured at East Cape.

Tony Phipps, Group Controller for the Northland CDEM Group, says tsunami activity is expected to continue for several hours after the reported 7.0 magnitude earthquake, off New Zealand's east coast.

"In Northland, past experience has shown us that this could lead to unusual and strong currents throughout today in harbours and coastal areas, including places like the Tutukaka Harbour."

While at this this stage, the official MCDEM warning does not include Northland, Civil Defence locally was nonetheless urging a sensible, precautionary approach. 

Mr Phipps says with that in mind, Northlanders in coastal areas should:

  • Stay off beaches
  • Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries) - this includes boating activities
  • Not go sightseeing

Mr Phipps says Civil Defence, local authority, police and fire officials will be monitoring the situation closely and the Northland CDEM Group will release new information as it comes to hand. 

Civil Defence information is available from the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s (CDEM) Facebook page –www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland  – or the Northland Regional Council’s website via www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence