There are few reports of damage after a series of earthquakes at the bottom of the South Island overnight Wednesday.
A 7.8 magnitude quake at around 9.20pm on Wednesday, was centred 100 kilometres west of Tuatapere, at a depth of 12km, followed by two aftershocks, the first 6.1 magnitude around 20 minutes later, and the another 5.9 magnitude, at 1:50am Thursday morning.
The only reports of damage are some isolated power outages, a burst water main in Winton, cracks in some buildings and products falling off shelves in shops.
It also downed some phone and power lines.
Residents near the quake say the shaking continued for a long time.
Tony Austin, Te Anau resident and owner of the Alphenhorn Motel in Te Anau, says the quake "came quietly and just built and built."
He says it felt far bigger than the other earthquakes they had in 2003 and 2004 and he is surprised that there has not been more damage.
GNS scientist Bill Fry says it is fortunate that the quake hit in an area that isn't very populated.
He says people should expect more aftershocks in the next few days, however he says they will be much smaller than the previous aftershocks.
He says the tsunami risk was real and had the potential to be much bigger even though it produced just a 17cm high ripple.
Officials will take to the air on Thursday morning to inspect the damage further and Environment Southland staff will be checking state highways, bridges and remote DOC huts, and be on the lookout for landslides.
Invercargill police Inspector Olaf Jensen said there were no immediate reports of damage in the southern city, but the quake was significant enough to send staff into doorways.
He described it as a strong, rolling quake rather than a sharp jolt.
People as far north as Taranaki felt the quake.
More than 14,000 earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand annually, but only about 20 are stronger than 5 on the Richter scale.
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