Mild tsunami off NZ coast

WELLINGTON: A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off New Zealand’s western coast on Wednesday generating a small tsunami. No injuries or major damage were reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii warned that a tsunami was generated, but it later said the waves were less than 20 cm in height and the warning was cancelled after about an hour.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre also issued a tsunami alert for eastern Australia that was still in effect late Wednesday.

“All available New Zealand and international data about the earthquake and sea levels showed that there is no tsunami threat to New Zealand,” said John Hamilton, director of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

The quake’s epicentre was 161 km west of Invercargill, off the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island at a depth of 33 km, the US Geological Survey said.

It hit at 0922 GMT today.

The quake was felt widely across South Island. Police in the town of Tuatapere said they had reports of minor cracks in buildings and stock falling from supermarket shelves.