A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of New Zealand following a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake early Friday, report says.
The emergency officials said in Wellington that the quake struck at 4:38 am (1638 GMT Thursday) at a depth of 19 km.
The U.S. Geological survey said that it was centred off the north-eastern coast of the North Island, some 166 Km from the city of Gisborne.
The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said that a series of strong aftershocks followed shortly after.
It noted that the east coast of the North Island, including the city of Auckland and Upper South Island, are under a tsunami warning.
The ministry warned that Tsunami activity would continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until the warning is cancelled.
It, therefore, warned that people must stay away from coastal areas.
In 2010, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck the South Island city of Christchurch, causing widespread damage but no loss of life.
On February 22, 2011 – less than six months later – a magnitude-6.3 quake struck the city, killing 185 people and wiping out much of the central business district and hundreds of homes and heritage buildings.