What we know:
– 7.5 quake strikes at 12.02am not far from Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury in the South Island – country still being hit, with more than 100 aftershocks so far – Tsunami waves have been recorded in and around Kaikoura and parts of Wellington – find your local evacuation zone here and your local Civil Defence group here.
– At least two people have been killed amid reports of many other casualties – one victim suffered a heart attack, another was killed in a historic homestead in Canterbury
– Kaikoura and other South Island towns have been essentially cut off, with the famous SH1 road and rail tunnels blocked by slips
– A massive slip has also closed SH70 to Waiau in north Canterbury
– Wellington is also badly hit, with damage to buildings and roads – people are being told to avoid the Capital CBD
– The cost of the quake is expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars
– Schools from North Canterbury to Wellington told to remain shut until damage can be assessed
– Students sitting NCEA exams face disruption, delays – scholarship exams called off today
– Tsunami warnings for entire east coast of New Zealand have been lifted but people living on the coast are being warned to stay away from beaches and shoreline
– Fire Service sending 7-strong urban search and rescue squad from Christchurch to Kaikoura
– Prime Minister John Key says military helicopters being made availableand Cabinet will meet this morning
– Key says communications have been difficult and full assessment of damage, casualties still being conducted
– St John receiving reports of injuries around Culverden and Kaikoura – paramedics being sent in by helicopter
– Power is out in many areas
– NZTA says roads some main highways are closed. All airports are open.