People affected by the tsunami warning have been urged not to return home until given the all-clear by New Zealand’s Civil Defence.
Fleeing locals have also been told to run, walk or cycle away from the affected danger zones to avoid being stuck in traffic.
Experts predict the first wave will not be the largest and tsunami activity may go on for hours.
The New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency said: “People who are near the coast in the AREAS UNDER THREAT listed above or near the coast and felt the earthquake LONG OR STRONG, should MOVE NOW.
“DO NOT WAIT for an Emergency Mobile Alert to your mobile phone.
“Move to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.”
The US National Tsunami Warning Center tweeted at 8.08pm GMT today: “Tsunami Info Stmt: M8.0 Kermadec Islands, New Zealand 1129PST Mar4: Event is being reviewed to determine threat to CA, OR, WA, BC, and AK.”
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked New Zealand earlier today at about 3.27am local time.
The tremor was originally reported at magnitude 7.2 but was later downgraded to 6.9.
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