Huge 7.1 magnitude earthquake shakes New Zealand as ‘ tsunami’ alarm issued

New Zealand has been hit by a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake prompting warnings of “hazardous tsunami waves”.

The quake struck the Kermadec Islands region, approximately 500 miles north-east of New Zealand's mainland, early on Thursday morning (March 15).

Tsunami warnings have been issued to coastal regions within 300km of the subtropical island arc in the south Pacific.

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The US Tsunami Warning System issued an alert shortly after the tremors, which the US Geological Survey estimated had been at a depth of 10km.

New Zealand, Australia and the Phillipines were not at risk from any possible tsunami, according to officials, and the threat was later lifted altogether.

NZ Civil Defence said in a statement reported by the Mirror: "There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the M7.0 earthquake in the Southern Kermadec Islands.

"Remember, if an earthquake is long or strong, get gone."

Earlier the US Tsunami Warning System issued a warning that “hazardous waves” were forecast to strike some coastal areas.

The alert had stated: “Tsunami waves reaching 0.3m to 1m above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Kermadec Islands.

“Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3m above the tide level for the coasts of Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga.”

The Kermadec Islands lie north-east of Auckland in New Zealand and measure about 13 square miles. The volcanic island group is frequently shaken by tremors.

The islands are largely uninhabited and home to a range of native species of plants and animals.

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