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Just after 2:30 pm workers in New Zealand felt the effects of a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.
The capital Wellington only suffered superficial damage. The epicentre was further south in Seddon, and struck at a dangerously shallow depth of 8km, similar to the the tremor which devastated the south island city of Christchurch in 2011.
Living along the Australia-Pacific tectonic plate boundary keeps New Zealanders on edge. As the tremors began this time, one man spoke of the panic which spread through the building he was in: “We weren’t sure what to do. We sort of ran out in the end. It kept going and going. I’m not sure whether that building’s safe or not.” Other witnesses took to twitter saying the buildings shook like leaves. New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development tweeted that the “beehive wobbled like jelly but all is ok”, referring to the parliament which is nicknamed thus due to its apiary-like structure.
The main tremor was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks.Two girls remembering their earthquake training ran under a doorway and said, “(the tremors) didn’t stop and we thought, this is kind of scary.”
So far no casualties have been reported, unlike the quake in 2011 which killed almost 200 people.
Transport ground to a halt as authorities checked train tracks, runways and roads for damage.
Power outages affected parts of the south island forcing companies to send employees home for the afternoon.