A strong 5.7 earthquake hit the South Island on Tuesday evening, toppling chimneys, closing a key road to Kaikoura and leaving spooked residents sleeping outside.
The 23km deep quake struck 20km southeast of Culverden at 6.13pm.
Damage, including toppled chimneys, has been reported in the North Canterbury town of Waikari.
Hillary Louis, a nearby resident who felt the quake, told Newshub it “was like an explosion going under the house”.
“Now we are all congregated at one neighbour’s house and we are all outside so we are sleeping outside tonight, we can’t go back in the houses because they are so badly damaged.”
Louis said her street was continually being struck by aftershocks.
“We are right in the zone, everyone is out of their houses, we’ve got lots of damage and they keep continuing every two minutes.”
Canterbury Civil Defence said Inland Rd, the only route connecting Kaikoura to the rest of the region, had been closed because of the risk of further slips occurring after the quake.
The road would remain closed Wednesday morning, until engineers had assessed it. Assessments were expected to be completed by midday.
The closure meant a Defence Force convoy scheduled to ferry supplies into Kaikoura would not leave in the morning as planned.
Canterbury Civil Defence duty controller Brett Aldridge said people’s safety was the top priority and staff would open the road as quickly as possible.
A Hurunui District Council spokeswoman said they hadn’t received any calls from people requiring assistance.
Building inspectors would assess damage in Greta Valley and Scargill Valley today.
The quake was part of a cluster, starting at 6.10pm, ranging from magnitude 4 upwards.
More than 4000 people have reported feeling the quakes on the GeoNet website.
An NZME reporter in Christchurch said the first quake hit with a jolt and then continued rumbling for some time.
The quake was hardly felt by an NZME reporter in Kaikoura.
Aftershocks rumble through night
Aftershocks have rumbled on throughout the night after Canterbury was rocked by a “severe” earthquake on Tuesday evening.
Geonet reported the 5.7 magnitude being centred 20 kilometres south-east of Culverden at a depth of 7km.
The quake, which struck at 6.13pm, had 4300 felt reports logged with Geonet within 30 minutes.
While the quake was centred approximately 100km north of Christchurch, many “extreme” felt reports were logged by those in the city. It was felt as far afield as Invercargill and Auckland.
Overnight two more “strong” quakes” hit – a mag-4.3 at 8.24pm and a 4.6 at 8:29pm.
Two “moderate” quakes struck in the wee hours: a 4.0 at 3.03am and a 4.4 at 4.54am.
Hurunui District councillor Fiona Harris said she had been told of a couple of chimneys coming down from homes in Greta Valley.
“People are pretty rattled.”
‘IT WAS A DECENT ROLL’
Another Hurunui District councillor Marie Black, who lives in Waikari Valley, said it was the most significant shake she had ever felt.
“Things fell down that have never fallen before, it was pretty awful really.”
A Canterbury Civil Defence spokeswoman said there were “no reports of any consequences or damage that we are aware of”.
“This may just be timely reminder to be prepared and have your kits ready,” she said.
Geonet reports show the “severe” shake was preceded by a mag-4.8 just one minute earlier at 6.12pm, then followed by three “strong” earthquakes; a mag-4.2 at 6.30pm, a mag-4.5 at 6.31pm and mag-4.5 at 6.44pm.
Culverden Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Craig Ritchie said he was not aware of any damage in Culverden and nothing fell off the walls in the fire station.
“It was a decent roll. But it wasn’t a jolt, it was a roll.”
‘IT HAD ME RUNNING’
Greta Valley resident Philippa Curtis said the earthquake felt strong.
“It had me running that one, probably for the first time since the first one on [last] Monday.
“To me it felt like three separate ones in a row,” she said.
The time of day meant the circumstances were different to last Monday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake.
“Because it was daytime and dinner time . . . [The] gas goes off, then run to the kid in the bath,” Curtis said.
Another Greta Valley resident, Belinda Meares, said the earthquake was “not pleasant”.
“We just had another one, so that, I think, makes four.
“I’m OK thank you, I’m hoping there’s no damage and I hope that little one was the last,” she said.
About 45 minutes after the earthquake struck, Hurunui District mayor Winton Dalley, said he had had no reports of damage from the earthquake.
What Happens Next?
Maps show big risk of damaging aftershocks on Kaikoura coast, small chance in Wellington
Maps from GeoNet and GNS Science show much of the South Island’s northeast coast has little chance in the next 30 days of avoiding more damaging aftershocks of last week’s magnitude-7.8 quake.
In contrast, the risk of damaging aftershocks in Wellington is put at only around 5 per cent, while Christchurch isn’t even included in the aftershock probability forecast area.
The maps were produced before the magnitude-5.7 quake at 6.13pm on Tuesday, which was centred 15km southeast of Culverden and was only 7km deep. That quake was classed as severe and many people in Christchurch reported being shaken by it.
Aftershocks were happening throughout a broad area surrounding the faults that ruptured in the main earthquake, GeoNet said.
Most of the aftershocks were near those faults, but a small number were as far away as the lower North Island.
“Our current forecasts indicate that it is likely … aftershocks near these faults will continue, but for the frequency of aftershocks to decrease with time. We are already seeing this happen,” GeoNet said.
“The area nearest the faults has a probability of 80 per cent or more for damaging shaking in the next 30 days. In comparison, the probability of damaging shaking in the Wellington area (the darker blue tones) is less than 10 per cent.”
It was still possible for Wellington to have more shaking similar to that experienced during the main quake. Wellington was already a high seismic risk area and the M7.8 quake had increased that risk.
Christchurch’s aftershock probabilities were not greatly affected by the M7.8 earthquake, GeoNet said.
“We understand that aftershocks can be upsetting for some people. These feelings are completely normal.”
As well as seeking support with friends and family, the All Right? hotline was a great resource where people could talk about any anxieties or concerns they had about the earthquakes. The phone number is 0800-777-846.
How are Wellington Businesses Coping?
Spare a thought for the cafe and restaurant owners forced to close their doors just weeks out from Christmas due to the November 11 quake.
On Courtenay Place, a number of restaurants and bars have been hard hit, closed because the Reading carpark is at risk of collapsing. The popular Asian eatery, Dragonfly, has been forced to shut, along with neighbouring bars, Assembly, Ballroom and Vinyl.
Dragonfly co-owner Tania Siladi is considering opening a pop-up restaurant in the meantime. “We’re happy that no-one has been hurt and we’ve been amazed with the wonderful response from people that have offered to do anything to help,” she says.
Mojo has shut two cafes – Wakefield Street and Gilmer Terrace – although Mojo owner Steve Gianoutsos says they are its two smallest operations. Mojo has kindly been giving free coffee to emergency workers all week.
D4 Bar & Restaurant on Featherstone Street, along with Zambrero, below it, are both closed, while Nudel, a takeaway restaurant on Molesworth Street, is also out of action as 61 Molesworth Street is being demolished.
The National Library is closed, cordoned off due to an at-risk building on Molesworth Street, and so is its popular Home cafe. Archives New Zealand is closed, along with its inhouse cafe. Environment Ministry employees can no longer get their coffee from a hole-in-the-wall.
But for those who have been bypassing Joe’s Garage and other cafes on Lower Tory Street, as part of the street has been shut off, the street is actually open and keen to caffeinate customers. Joe’s Garage manager said: “Please tell five friends.”
Vietnamese coffee in Wellington
Justin Nguyen grew up on a coffee plantation in northern Vietnam. Arriving here in 2009 as an international student in business studies, he graduated and opened his first cafe in Petone, Figg. His latest venture, Aramo, on Cuba Street, is a daytime cafe and roastery combined.
There, Nguyen is roasting beans sourced from Vietnam and Brazil, including his special “Welly” blend. Nguyen also hopes to set up a coffee machine in the mall for passers-by. Serving wholesome baking, cabinet food and a menu, he also plans to open at night.
Vietnamese beans are not well known, says Nguyen, even though the country is the world’s second biggest coffee supplier. “400 years ago, the French brought coffee beans to Vietnam, and I grew up with them all around me,” he says.
Strawberries for charity
Mary Potter Hospice will hold its annual strawberry festival fundraiser in Midland Park today. From 9am to 4pm, indulge yourself with a $5 sundae – delicious, ripe strawberries and creamy vanilla icecream – while listening to music, knowing that every dollar will go to a good cause.