Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes New Zealand - centred near Wellington, felt in both islands
Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes New Zealand - centred near Wellington, felt in both islands

Wellington:  A 6.3 magnitude earthquake that was centred near Wellington tonight and felt by tens of thousands of New Zealanders has been dubbed "massive" and "scary" by some.

After a strong jolt at the beginning of the earthquake, there was at least 30 seconds of moderate shaking.

According to GeoNet, the earthquake occurred at 7:38 p.m. at a depth of 48 km, about 50 km northwest of Paraparaumu. The shaking was rated as strong.

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On the official GeoNet website, more than 60,000 Kiwis, including those in Auckland and Christchurch, said they felt the earthquake. As opposed to being "jolty," one Garden City resident described it as rolling.

There is no tsunami threat, the National Emergency Management Agency has advised.

Aftershocks should be anticipated, according to the Emergency Management Office for Wellington Region.

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A short while later, a second earthquake of magnitude 4.0 struck at a depth of 78 km, 45 km southwest of Taumarunui.

When describing the first earthquake, Raumati Beach resident David Haxton compared it to a freight train speeding past his home.

I quickly gathered under a doorway with my wife, our two children, and we all waited for the shaking to stop.

It seemed to last for around 30 seconds. Everyone's hearts were pounding quickly.

As we scampered to the doorway, the family dog was more interested in the food on our dinner plates.

According to Nelson's Jan McCallum, the earthquake began with a slight trembling and then came in "big jolts."

The entire two-story house violently shook.

Chief political reporter for Newstalk ZB Aaron Dahmen reported feeling "a big bump, and then the whole house shook aggressively for about 30 seconds, before swaying" in Wellington. After a while, there was a constant rumble.

It "shook all the items in my flat quite badly — swayed my apartment building from side to side for a good 30 seconds," according to ZB's Nick James, who is also in the capital.

Ilona from Taranaki Hanne reported that her home experienced considerable shaking and rolling.

One resident of Wellington told the Herald that the rumble was so intense that it caused her son to take cover under their desk.

Before being informed that it struck north of Wellington, another person from Christchurch claimed they "felt it strong" and assumed it must have been nearby.

Following the earthquake, at least one flight from Auckland had to postpone its descent into Wellington.

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The captain informed the passengers while they were in the air, "As if a cyclone wasn't enough, Wellington has now been hit by a moderate earthquake."

He informed them that the runway was being inspected for damage and that they would need to circle for the duration of the inspections. The aircraft has now touched down.

Following a "moderate" 4.4 magnitude earthquake that shook Gisborne residents on Monday night in the midst of Cyclone Gabrielle's onslaught.

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