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Civil Defence has cancelled a tsunami warning for New Zealand, following the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The agencies still advise people to proceed with caution on beaches and water areas as minor fluctuations in sea level could continue for the next 48 hours.
The 8.9 magnitude quake, and the 10-metre high tsunami it triggered, are believed to have killed more than 1000 people along the coast of north-eastern Japan.
Most of the casualties were probably drowned by the torrent of water that swept away everything in its path.
An international warning was then issued for 20 countries covering nearly the entire Pacific coastline, including New Zealand.
Wave heights of up to four metres have been measured in coastal Japan. Early today, waves of up to a metre had hit the top half of the North Island.
A sudden surge of water gushing into Maunagnui Bay in the Far
North, turning boats 360 and rapidly lifting the tide.
"We get into the marina here and there's a bunch of currrent ripping in and out. It's ripping in one minute then out the next, but we haven't seen any major effect anyway," said John Batterton, from Hookin' Bull Game Fisherman.
The tsunami waves also arrived at North Cape, Great Barrier Island, Tauranga, East Cape, Gisborne and Napier, the Chatham Islands and Castlepoint on Wairarapa's east coast.
In Auckland, larger than normal swells and fast-running currents were experienced this morning.
Clive Manley, Auckland Civil Defence Controller, said fluctuations in swell and current continued longer than anticipated, and that boaties and the public should remain vigilant.
New Zealand Civil Defence said the first wave was recorded at the country's North Cape by a coastal gauge at 7:10am after a wave arrived at Raoul Island in the Kermadecs at 6:35am.
Civil Defence said initial waves were in the order of 15cm but increased to up to 70cm during the morning and early afternoon, with some harbours and bays experiencing tidal surges and waves of up to a metre.
Modelling indicated that the highest waves were expected to occur from shortly before midday until around 1:00pm.
The pattern of wave arrival closely matched that forecast by the modelling that had been undertaken for this event.
After the initial waves, David Coetzee of Civil Defence told ONE News: "It's rather insignificant though at this stage and will be barely visible to the naked eye."
But he added the first arrival is seldom the largest, and Civil Defence modelling points to the most significant activity to be one to two hours onwards.
Wave heights of 0.2m had been observed in Nauru and Honiara.
New Zealanders in Japan
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 756 New Zealanders are registered with the Ministry as being in Japan but the number living there and visiting the country is known to be several thousand.
There are thought to be only a small number of New Zealanders in the area of north-east Japan, the most affected by the earthquake.
New Zealand Embassy staff have been making good progress in contacting them to check their whereabouts and safety, despite communications difficulties, the Ministry said.
About 3500 New Zealanders are registered with Japanese authorities as living in Japan, and it was likely at least a further 3000 New Zealanders were visiting the country. These figures are estimates, and again only a small number are thought to be in the affected areas.
New Zealanders with concerns about family in Japan should try to contact them directly in the first instance.
If they cannot make contact and they are known to be in the north-east of Japan they should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on: 0800 432 111
If calling from overseas call +64 4 439 8000
New Zealanders in Japan are asked to register their details on Safetravel.
MFAT said its staff in Wellington and at other posts monitored the situation in the Pacific closely overnight and to date there have been no reports of major damage.
Many Pacific countries have also cancelled or downgraded their tsunami warnings.
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