- A 5.9 magnitude quake struck Christchurch at 1.13pm (10:13 AEST) and was felt as far north as Wellington
- A cliff has collapsed in Sumner
- Shelves have fallen in homes, shops and libraries but so far no reports of serious injuries or damage.
- Riccarton Mall and some other shopping centres have been evacuated.
- Aftershocks are continuing.
CHRISTCHURCH has been shaken by a 5.7 magnitude magnitude quake at 1.13pm this afternoon. There have been no reports of serious damage or injuries but a cliff has fallen in Sumner.
The severe quake was centred 15km east of the city and was felt as far north as Wellington. It was followed by another, moderate quake with a 3.5km magnitude at 1.17pm, 10km north-east of the city and aftershocks are continuing.
Shelves have fallen in homes, shops and libraries and Riccarton Mall and Northlands Mall have both been evacuated. The fire service said there had been reports of liquefaction and a burst water mains in Pines Beach, near Kaiapoi, and there was flooding and power lines were down in New Brighton.
10:56pm (AEST): The National Crisis Management Centre said there is no threat of a tsunami following the quake.
It has told people in the affected area to:
- expect aftershocks and remember to drop, cover and hold.
- to look after yourself and get first aid if necessary.
- Help others if you can.
- Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out.
- Use the stairs, not an elevator and when outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines.
- Stay out of damaged areas.
- Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.
- Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
- Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
- Help people who require special assistance - infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities and the people who care for them.
10:55pm: Matthew Walker was doing a bit of work in his Woolston home, while his partner and their 2-year-old daughter were in the kitchen, when their house began to shake.
"I headed out to where they were - running through a house during an earthquake is not ideal, but I put my daughter's safety first."
Mr walker said as he headed out of the room he'd been in, a bookcase crashed to the floor behind him.
"I got pretty used to picking up books off the floor after 2011. I should really get a Kindle."
He said said he, his partner and daughter were fine, the bookshelf was the only casualty of the quake, and there was some hairline cracking in the house.
He said most Christchurch people would be feeling pretty shaky after the quake, though his daughter wasn't fazed.
"It was her first decent shake."
1:55pm: Bob and Judy said it "brought back a lot of feelings".
"Even the two after-shocks were pretty good.
"Pictures fell and ornaments, the cat took off."
10:51pm: Elliott Cossham said his cat was killed by a falling statue at his house.
10:50pm: Richelle Millen said she heard the earthquake coming before she felt it.
"The house swayed and creaked, the ornaments rattled.
"Cannot imagine how terrifying those larger earthquakes must have been."
10:48pm: Margaret was on Cashmere Hill having lunch when she felt a "very big shake from side to side".
"I was wondering when it would stop. Blue tack has remained under vases and art work since 2011, never take it for granted that we are free from earthquakes in Christchurch."
10:47pm: Rebuild Christchurch said in a Facebook post that damage had been reported in some areas of the city and that Riccarton Mall had been evacuated. The group urged people to check on elderly neighbours as soon possible, to stay away from cliffs and told people to document and photograph any damage to homes or possessions.
10:46pm: Judi Thawley said the shake "sent my heart racing again."
She said it was "long and loud, house shook but nothing fell".
"[I] feel sorry for the people in the east of Christchurch.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck at a depth of 31km, 15km east of Christchurch this afternoon.
Geonet said the quake hit at 1.13pm (10:13 AEST).
The severe earthquake was followed by another, moderate quake with a 3.5km magnitude at 1.17pm (10:17 AEST), 10km north-east of the city.
Several smaller aftershocks followed over the next five minutes in the same area.
The Fire Service said there were no reports of structural damage on 111 as yet. However, some fire alarms had activated.
A spokeswoman at the southern fire communications centre said they felt the quake but had not yet received any calls and didn't know if any buildings had fallen.
Garry Patterson said people have evactuated buldings in the centre of town.
Jenny Krex, manager of Sumner Coffee Culture said they had some items broken in her shop.
"Everyone got a big fright, we had everyone running out.
"I made sure everyone was okay, it was quite a big shock. It's crazy out here at the moment."
Glenn Conway said the quake "lasted a while".
"The kids are okay but I'm still nervy."
Darryl Bayard said alarms were going off everywhere in Redwood.
Martin Keisers said he felt it in Timaru.
Tracey Lynch said the concrete pillars at the Lincoln Pub were swaying during the shake.
Christchurch Live said a cliff had collapsed in Sumner and power has been lost to 450 customers between Burwood and Spencerville and at 100 homes in Akaroa.
St John spokesman Ian Henderson said they had received a number of calls from people who have fallen as a result of today's 5.9 earthquake.
At this stage we have no reports of serious injuries, or serious damage.
This is a developing situation and I will update media later with more information in due course.
Carolyn McKubre said it was "quite a sharp aggressive earthquake".
The quake was felt as far as Asburton and Hanmer Springs.
Craig Mitchell was in Hornby when it hit and said it "was like riding a wave".
Rosemary Revell was walking in Sommerfield when she thought she was suffering from vertigo.
"I was nearly thrown off my feet."
Pam Hunt said the quake was "loud and long" in Rolleston.
A power line near Josie Cochrane in Lincoln was blown over the road.
Dust cloud after cliff fall in Sumner 5.9 earthquake just now! pic.twitter.com/Lzn78e5RIO— Rob Simcic (@RobSimcic) February 14, 2016
Geonet's "Felt It" function showed the quake was felt as far away as Wellington and Queenstown.
The quake comes just one week before the five-year anniversary of the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake from 2011, in which more than 180 people died.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.