An Earthquake of magnitude 7.4 hits 91 km off Christchurch, New Zealand. The earthquake struck 57 miles north east of the city which is on the east coast of the country's South Island. The earthquake was experienced in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Hamilton.
The earthquake hit New Zealand in early hours of Monday morning. The quake was stronger than 2011's 6.3 quake. The 6.3 quake killed 185 people and caused widespread damage.
According to New Zealand authorities, the powerful earthquake has generated a tsunami. Reportedly, the first waves have also hit the South Island. Earlier, New Zealand issued Tsunami warning soon after earthquake of magnitude 7.4 strikes 91 km off Christchurch on Monday morning.
The shallow tremor hit some 90 kilometres north of the South Island city of Christchurch which was devastated five years ago by a 6.3 tremor which killed 185 people in one of New Zealand's deadliest disasters.
Today's quake, initially put at 7.4 but later upgraded, struck at 12:02am. It was only 10 kilometres deep and felt throughout most of the country.
The main tremor was followed by a series of strong aftershocks and there were reports of damaged buildings in the small rural township of Cheviot near the epicentre.
"It was massive and really long," Tamsin Edensor, a mother of two in Christchurch, told AFP, describing the powerful quake as the biggest since the deadly 2011 tremor.
"We were asleep and woken to the house shaking, it kept going and going and felt like it was going to build up."
In a brief message the Prime Minister John Key tweeted: "I hope everyone is safe after the earthquake tonight."
The ambulance service said it did not receive any reports of quake-related injuries. However, the national civil defence organisation, which is in charge of New Zealand's emergency management said a tsunami was possible.
"The first wave activity may not be the most significant," it said in a bulletin, adding tsunami activity would continue for several hours.
Anna Kaiser, a seismologist with the GNS Science, said the government's earthquake monitoring service, the quakes were close to the coast.
"They've been quite large. We've also seen a signal on the tide gauge at Kaikoura which is up to one metre (three feet) so it's reasonably significant, so people should take this seriously."
(With PTI inputs)