Tsunami hits New Zealand - full coverage

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UPDATED 2.25pm Sunday 


Latest data still shows dangerous surges right across the east coast, particularly Gisborne and Napier.

The warning will be reviewed at 2:30pm today.

A tsunami surge of water measuring one metre has reached Northland, turning the normally placid harbour into a "washing machine".

"The wave was approximately one metre. It sucks out and comes in. It takes a couple of minutes. They are very long waves," said Jeroen Jongejans from his boat near the harbour entrance.

He said the water was discoloured indicating the energy level of the wave was very deep and had picked up debris from the harbour floor.

One of the marine markers indicating the course boats should take to get into the harbour was "violently shaking."

He said the tidal flow was estimated to be about 12 knots which was very strong.

"It is very unusual for a body of water to move at that kind of speed."

Mr Jongejans said he was in no danger but was in constant touch with civil defence authorities and was keeping a constant lookout for surges.

Kate Malcolm from Dive Tutukaka said there had been several strong surges in the marina and there had been a rise and fall in the water level of about a metre and a half.

"It has resulted in a washing machine action in the marina.

"The piles are moving around a lot when the surges come through. There is about 12 knots of current at the entrance when it comes through and the lines are quite tight on the vessels in the marina."

She said normally the tidal flow was hardly noticeable in normal conditions and the 12 knot current was very unusual and very strong.

No damage had been reported.

"But some of the boats certainly looking like they were getting tossed around," she said.

The flow arrived as Northlanders were repeatedly warned to stay away from beaches and not try to watch events.

Commercial ships in Auckland's seaport, including a 2000-passenger cruise ship, have been evacuated to deep harbour as a tsunami approaches.Cruise ship Dawn Princess, which has a capacity of 1990 passengers, and other large commercial vessels have been moved to deep water east of Fergusson and outside Rangitoto Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

WeatherWatch.co.nz confirms small rise in Auckland's harbour in the past 30 minutes.

The latest information from Civil Defence shows surges of about 1.5m at the Chatham Islands, 30cm at East Cape and 40cm in Gisborne. Rana Solomon of Chatham Islands Council reported a surge height of 1.5 metres at Pitt Island in the Chathams, Civil Defence said.

Napier, Castlepoint, Tauranga and North Cape tsunami gauges are also showing initial activity of approximately 30cm.

Marsden Point oil refinery has suspended all operations pending further information on the severity of the tsunami.

Production controller Ted Rye said all operations at the country's only oil refinery had been put on hold. "We’ve just had a report from a trader fishing boat out at the Hen and Chick islands, about 10 kilometers off the coast, and they have noticed quite a significant surge."
A small ship which had been discharging its oil at the port this morning had also been stopped, Mr Rye said.

 In the small coastal town of Tutukaka in Northland marina staff have just seen a major drop in the water levels and were expecting a big surge soon.
A spokesman for Tutukaka marinan said staff were on alert for further surges.
"We’re just having a couple major surges right now, probably about to a 1m" .

The main railway line has been shut down in Kaikoura. KiwiRail spokesman Kevin Ramshaw said the line has been closed as a precaution.

Civil Defence has blocked off roads to Gisborne beaches after sea levels dropped suddenly ahead of a tsunami wave generated by the quake in Chile. One witness said that the water had been sucked out to lower than the low tide mark even though it was high tide.

The tsunami is also now being detected in Tauranga and Napier.

The Chatham Islands, Gisborne, East Cape and Castlepoint are first to see the waves this morning. Although the waves are small, an increase and then a drop in water levels is obvious. 

Civil Defence warns larger waves are possible well after the first waves arrive.

Earlier story

Small waves are starting to surge in and out of the Chatham Islands in the last 15 minutes and are beginning to gather momentum.As predicted, the initial 20cm wave wasn't the largest as the water level recedes and then increases with a difference in total of just over a metre.

Christchurch's Sumner Beach has been evacuated until at least 9am as part of this morning's tsunami warnings.

Aucklanders ignore tsunami warnings in Te Atatu Peninsula this morning - Image / WeatherWatch.co.nz

A tsunami alert has been issued for the whole of New Zealand following an earthquake registering 8.8 on the Richter scale centred near the Chilean capital of Santiago.

A tsunami alert has been issued for the Pacific including New Zealand.

Civil Defence says it expects the first wave to reach New Zealand will come ashore at the Chatham Islands around 7.05 this morning and it is likely to be a metre high.

Civil Defence says it is not expecting a huge impact on land but people should stay out of the water and boats should be tied up, preferably in a sheltered place.

It is expected there will be a number of waves - and the first may not be the largest. Civil Defence says the waves may continue for several hours.

The waves are expected at St Clair in Dunedin at 8.29, New Brighton at Christchurch at 9.05, Wellington at Pencarrow Head at 8.25, and North Head at Auckland at 10.22.

CNN reports a 40-metre wave has hit the small island of Juan Fernandez, 700 kilometres off the coast of Chile. Tsunami alerts have been issued for 53 countries. They cover virtually all nations on the entire Pacific rim as well the islands of the Pacific Ocean, including Fiji, Nauru, the Solomons, Vanuatu, Kermadec Island, the two Samoas,Tonga, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands. 

CNN reports a 40-metre wave has hit the small island of Juan Fernandez, 700 kilometres off the coast of Chile. Tsunami alerts have been issued for 53 countries. They cover virtually all nations on the entire Pacific rim as well the islands of the Pacific Ocean, including Fiji, Nauru, the Solomons, Vanuatu, Kermadec Island, the two Samoas,Tonga, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands.


WeatherWatch.co.nz believes that New Zealand won't be "devastated" by the waves but do say that eastern beaches will be "especially dangerous" on Sunday.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan, who has been watching the events unfold all night, says New Zealanders need not fear, but should be prepared.  "We have a very settled Sunday across the country thanks to a large high but boaties, swimmers and residents along the east coast must be aware of the heightened risk of the sea from the east today",

Mr Duncan says while waves may only be 20cms to 1 metre above normal rips and 'random monster waves' may be deadly to beachgoers.

"We don't want to panic people...but we suggest you wait until the 'all clear' is signalled, most likely on Sunday night, before heading out to sea on the east coast".

WeatherWatch.co.nz says that all eastern beaches from the Far North to Dunedin will be at risk from sunrise on Sunday until 'sometime' in the afternoon.

Civil Defence:  Scientific advice is that a marine threat (threat to beach and small boats) exists for the entire east coasts of the North and South Islands from Puysegur around to Cape Reinga and extending south to Ahipara. Some land threat also exists with expected wave heights between 1 and 3 metres for the Chatham Islands and Banks Peninsula. Wave height refers to maximum water level relevant to the normal sea level at the beach. This does not take tides into account. Based on historical events it is expected that the greatest wave heights will occur between 6 and 12 hours after the initial arrivals.

People in coastal areas should:

1. Stay off beaches
2. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)
3. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends
4. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates
5. Follow instructions of your local Civil Defence authorities.

***Please do not go sightseeing***




reply this topic

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wait would the tsunami hit

wait would the tsunami hit australia?

Today, 28th, the moon is the

Today, 28th, the moon is the third closest to Earth for the whole year, and full moon is tomorrow. This is a combination that usually creates earthquakes and eruptions, not to mention cyclonic systems. After tomorrow the threat will be over. The surfies will be whooping for joy.
Ken Ring

That's some nice hindcasting

That's some nice hindcasting there Ken. Quick, update your website to insert the "forecast". I'm sure the Chileans will find it invaluable.

Yeah, must be coincidence.

Yeah, must be coincidence. Same with the Samoan tsunami of 2009 and the Asian tsunami of 2004 also around full moon/perigee/apogee. And the Napier earthquake of 1931 and the Chinese one in Yunnan last year that took out 10,000 houses, followed a lunar pulse later by our Te Anau event. Look for the next 'coincidence' in a month's time around 28-30 March.

Yes thats correct you need to

Yes thats correct you need to look at the 1987 earthquake tomorrow 23 years ago to the day and the kobe and turkey and sanfransisco and indonesiean and inangahua and napier eartquakes and see that the moon was either full of new if it can move the tides it can move the blood in our bodies and the earths crust aswell the moon also make more people lose the plot especially on the full moon

So full OR new moon, with a

So full OR new moon, with a bit of wiggle room either side I expect, what? a week? That's the whole month covered then. Useful. Still waiting for Ken to tell us where this earthquake is going to be, in advance this time, so lives can be saved and he can get the credit and adulation he so truly deserves.

Predicting earthquakes

It is possible to determine where, but it is a very lengthy process. I have done it before and I demonstrated the process on national radio and TV3's Nightline. I did it as an exercise a few years ago to show it could be done. A month beforehand I pinpointed for 3 earthquakes going to occur around NZ, one at Tolaga Bay, and I contacted TV3 and Morning Report with the predictions. It'll be on archive somewhere. We all waited for the month, then when it all happened exactly on cue Amanda Gillies of TV3 was kind and made it into a respectful item. But Sean Plunket interviewed me and he called it three flukes. So that's the kind of thing one is often up against. The process involves measuring exactly where perigee/apogee is going to hit, a lot of calculations involved, where the earth will flex in that minute, then where the nearest tectonic plates are which will be closest to that 'flash' point. Because the moon moves so fast there is only about a 10-minute window of opportunity. It would require geologists to work with astronomers and astrologers. Of course they won't as they are all competing for funding, not co-operating for it. Also, no one really wants to know anything about cycles, as infrastructure around insurance etc and the media make more money out of the unexpectedness of such events. But they do know it can be done. Conversely, when the earth came close the whole moon shuddered in moonquakes and that was described by the Apollo 11 astronauts who were placing seismic equipment on the lunar surface. If someone pays for my time I'd do it, but not because I'm challenged on a blog such as this by folks just wanting a bit of a laugh.
Ken Ring

im confused ... you say you

im confused ... you say you predicted 3 earthquakes a month before then you say there is only a 10 minute window??? I would not like to have you as a friend if you can claim to have the expertise to pin point an earthquake which would save lives but then on the other hand you seem calous enough to say you want to be paid for it . Im sure if you saved many thousands of lives you would not have to be worried about your financial future unless of course youre not fully convinced you can get it right!!

Ok so don't do it for me, do

Ok so don't do it for me, do it for the hundreds of people who's lives will be saved. As you can see from here http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/qed/ there are earthquakes every day and since your full moon/new moon rule pretty much covers the whole month, most of them will fall within your time limit. But unless you can actually say where it will be, it's useless. So 28 to 30 March...where???

Do it yourself Gary

Well, as I said Gary, it would take a long time to do the calculations, time I don't have and there is no reason why I should satisfy your whim. But nothing to stop you doing it yourself. I have told you the method.
Ken Ring

I'll look forward to hearing

I'll look forward to hearing you claim victory then on one of the many earthquakes that will occur between 28 and 30 March.


I don't claim anything either

I don't claim anything either way as I haven't sat down and worked anything out for them. I'm only putting forward a viewpoint.
Ken Ring

Just to follow up on Ken's

Just to follow up on Ken's "prediction". There was indeed a 6.6 earthquake on the 30th near the Andaman Islands, but there was also a 6.2 in Chile on the 26th, a 6.0 on the 25th in the Philippines, a 6.6 on the 20th in New Guinea and a large number of 5+ earthquakes on every day this month with no notable increase near the new or full moon http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/.



By the way, Haiti was 3 days

By the way, Haiti was 3 days before a new moon. oops.


I believe you all should just take deep note of what you see and hear, it could and can be life threating, i have full faith in our systems and believe they know best at this stage......


Just another 'non event' brought to you by over reacting authorities and self proclaimed 'experts' with no credibility

wateva you idiot...go to the

wateva you idiot...go to the beach then go on...it's people like you that need to be washed away...my home town is flooded right now because of this...so i don't think any1 is overreacting!....go to the beach PLZZZZZZZZ...u wont be missed

I don't think of currents

I don't think of currents that could drown a reasonable swimmer, and surges that can break up boats count as 'non-event'. If you have a radio or an internet connection you know as much as anyone else, each harbour & bay has different topographies, and the authorities and experts are updating their modelling with real time measurements. How would YOU like to predict what could happen when megatonnes of energy get released thousands of kilometres away?


Yet again, civil defence has cried wolf, 40cm. I was looking fowded to running the cathay pacific half marathon.. Unfortunately cancelled to a 1m wave....C'mon

Actually a 1 metre wave can

Actually a 1 metre wave can be quite devastating especially in time with high tides - which are also king tides.  Also, the waves behind the 40cm have the potential to be even bigger. 

Underwater rips may also be incredibly dangerous (and invisible).

Understand your frustration though - I'm sure a lot of people are annoyed today, the last day of summer and it's sunny and no one can go swimming!


Philip Duncan

Confused too...

Yes...why issue a warning in the middle of the night? I did read something about only issuing warnings up to 6 hrs before a potential event, but you're right, this is far too late.

1 - 3 metres is not exactly 40 metres, but how about all those people on boats moored up? All those people wih coastal property? All those people that might have camped/slept on the beach?

no but 1-3 metres can still

no but 1-3 metres can still do alot of damage to considering tsunami is a wall of water not just a wave


Chill out.... The warnings are clear and timely. If a tsunami is in fact going to hit here there will be plenty of warning. It damaged the island off the coast but not too surprising since it was so close. Same as what happened here in the Tonga quake. As a wave moves across the Pacific there will be better indications from hits to islands between NZ and S America. Watch those indicators before panicking. I am on a boat anchored in Opua and will make my decision later....


Once again I find myself absolutely disgusted at the New Zealand Civil Defense and the New Zealand Media. Most Kiwi's will be in bed now safe in the knowledge that there is NO threat to New Zealand's coast line - because that's what they said.

In fact - they were saying there was no threat to NZ when NOAA was still part way through assessing the situation and issuing warnings. And to top that off Australia had warnings issued for their own coast line and Islands at least 2 hours before New Zealand - and we sit in-between the Earthquake epicenter and Australia!

Everywhere from Japan to Antarctica was under a warning yet the New Zealand Civil Defense was still publicity stating there was no risk to New Zealand.

With the recent reports flooding the Internet of a 40 meter wave hitting the Island of Juan Fernandez and washing half of the township into the tide - and with tomorrow morning been Sunday were many people sleep in - it's a recipe for disaster.

Shame on them.

No shame

Unfortunately, Civil Defence and media can not go door to door waking people up - I was awake when the earthquake in Chile happened and followed on from there watching the tsunami. The Civil Defence has in fact been very onto it with updates on their website - obviously you have access to the internet with being able to find this.

If indeed it was more of an emergency where communities or the country needed waking, you would hear the Civil Defence alarms and be woken like those in Banks Peninsula early this morning to be evacuated inland.

What more can they do? They are only people and in a country of 4million+ I'm sure they do their very best with what little resources they have and with their best interests at heart. They are people too with families, friends and themselves to think of.


Chill out.... The warnings are clear and timely. If a tsunami is in fact going to hit here there will be plenty of warning. It damaged the island off the coast but not too surprising since it was so close. Same as what happened here in the Tonga quake. As a wave moves across the Pacific there will be better indications from hits to islands between NZ and S America. Watch those indicators before panicking. I am on a boat anchored in Opua and will make my decision later....