Earthquake in lower North Island

A 6.3 earthquake struck just before 4pm about 100km north of Wellington. It was about 30km deep and was felt quite strongly in Palmerston North and Wellington. It frightened many people but there are no reports of serious injuries. There is some damage however. Some chimneys and water cylinders fell causing damage to homes. Many people reported broken china and glass. Some buildings now have red stickers which means Keep Out!

In Wellington airport a large model of an eagle – which weighed 2 tonnes – fell from the ceiling. It fell slowly and people managed to move out of the way. The model was promoting the latest Hobbit movie.

Rocks fell in the Manawatu Gorge, closing one lane of the highway. Today was Wellington anniversary so many people are driving home from a long weekend holiday tonight. Police said drivers should travel slowly because there could be damaged roads. New Zealand rail is checking railway lines, bridges and tunnels in the area so trains will not run tonight.

Nearly 6,000 homes lost electricity at first but most have their power back on now.

There have been many after-shocks, mostly minor. The strongest was 4.3.

This area north of Wellington has had earthquakes in the past but the last big one was in 1961.

Listen to July 22nd 2013 for other podcasts about earthquakes near Wellington.


  • struck – past of strike = hit
  • water cylinders – usually hot water cylinders are in the top of a cupboard. If they break, they can flood the house with hot water.
  • red sticker – a label which shows danger
  • eagle – large bird
  • promote – advertise, show something about the movie

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