WELLINGTON Jan 20 Central New Zealand,
including the capital Wellington, was shaken by a magnitude 6.3
earthquake on Monday, but there were no reports of injuries, and
damage was mostly superficial.
The minute-long, rolling quake was centred in the mainly
rural Wairarapa region about 120 kilometres north east of
Wellington, at a depth of 50 kms, government seismologists at
GNS Science said.
"There's been damage to houses mainly in the
(Wairarapa)area, and that includes chimneys down, windows
broken," a spokesman at Police National headquarters told
"We've had a lot of rock falls and slips on highways in the
area, and the rest has been pretty minor."
The quake was felt from the middle of the North Island down
through the upper parts of the South Island. More than a dozen
aftershocks measuring up to 4.5 were recorded.
A large model of an eagle suspended from the ceiling at
Wellington Airport to promote the Hobbit movie came down during
the tremor, but nobody was hurt.
Most offices and businesses in the region were closed
because of a public holiday.
The region was shaken by two large quakes of magnitude 6.9
and 6.5 August and September last year, which caused moderate
damage to buildings and infrastructure, and some minor injuries.
New Zealand sits on the boundary of the Pacific and
Indo-Australian tectonic plates, and records more than 14,000
earthquakes a year.
In February 2011 the South Island city of Christchurch was
struck by a shallow magnitude 6.2 quake, which killed 189