Earthquake News

If you live in New Zealand, you already know about the earthquakes. These are some of the details. The first one was just after midnight early yesterday morning. It was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake centred around Hanmer Springs and about 16km deep. It was a very long shake – more than a minute – and maybe it was two shakes. It was followed during the night by many aftershocks and these have continued during the day.

Two people died. One of those people was inside a house which collapsed. It is not known how the other person died.

Hanmer Springs is in the centre of the South Island, about 2 hours by car from Christchurch. Although people in Christchurch felt the shakes, the worst effects were in Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island. Her,e some houses were completely destroyed, huge cracks opened in the roads and slips fell down the cliffs onto the road and railway. Train tracks were pushed onto the road. The people in Kaikoura cannot get out except by sea or air. Kaikoura has a small air field, probably only grass.

Kaikoura is a small town which is very popular with tourists who come for whale watching. Many tourists from all over the world were staying there last night in hotels or campgrounds. They are being looked after by emergency teams of people.

The Prime Minister flew by helicopter over Kaikoura yesterday then landed there. He said the damage was much worse than he had imagined and will cost perhaps billions of dollars to repair.

Meanwhile, people in Wellington also experienced the earthquakes and there was damage to some buildings. Local people were told not to come into the city for work. Many schools were closed.

Aftershocks will continue and there is a possibility of more big earthquakes.

For more information and to see some aerial photos, go to or rnz.


• magnitude (n) – large size
• centred (v) – the centre of the earthquake (noun used as a verb)
• collapsed (v) – fell down
• slips (n) – earth from a cliff slipping down and falling onto the road or railway
• whale watching (n) – activity where boats take tourists into the harbour to watch for whales

Leave a Reply