Wellington quake 6.6 – August 16

A large earthquake – magnitude 6.6 – struck central New Zealand today, August 16. The likelihood of a bigger shake is now elevated, following the severe earthquake felt around 2.31 pm.

Latest information from WREMO – 17 August 11 am:REGIONAL UPDATE #4 (FINAL): The Wellington Emergency Operations Centre has deactivated, but we will continue monitoring the situation throughout the weekend and will provide updates if there are any significant developments. Wellington CBD is open for business, however some areas may be cordoned off due to broken glass. Please respect cordons and exercise care.

An information centre for affected residents will be open at Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street, from 10am – 4pm for the next few days. 

Aftershocks are continuing. Some buildings have sustained minor damage. Structural engineers are assessing buildings in the CBD today (Saturday), but there have been no reports of major structural damage so far.

Lukes Lane, closed after the earlier big quake, due to threat of a nine storey lift shaft structure collapsing, has been cordoned off again, with emergency demolition of the tower ordered.

Trains are running again. 

Please share this information with your network ‪#‎eqnz‪#‎wellingtonearthquake

16 August 4 pm – Advice to residents of affected areas: When you get home tonight, please ensure you check your grab-bags are easily accessible and you have fresh water, first-aid kit, warm clothing, toilet paper, rubbish bags, strong shoes and gloves, and if you have them – some hand sanitiser, latex gloves, and dust mask. A non-electric land-line phone would be good to dig out too if you have one. Keep the pressure off the phone lines if at all possible. Also, if you’re about to leave Wellington city, bear in mind the roads are pretty jam packed as everyone is having similar ideas. 

The quake was centred (as with the last severe one on July 21st) near Seddon in Marlborough, at a depth of 8km. The magnitude has been revised down (from 6.9) to 6.6, with the largest aftershock so far 5.7 (update – three sequential aftershocks around 5.30 pm have come in at 6.2 and at varying depths, with the shallowest occurring 25 km east of Picton 5 km deep). Trains are NOT running, and there are no bus replacements at this stage (4pm).

Check for WREMO (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office) facebook updates.

Wellington CBD has stood up well, with no reports of injuries, although the shaking continues, and a number of buildings in the CBD are evacuating for safety reasons. 

No tsunami warning issued. Keep well clear of power lines and non-safety glass. Stay safe everyone. 

Notes from GNS

  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is a common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.

If you are looking for some tips on how to help children deal with earthquakes and all the aftershocks – try this site: SKIP – Earthquakes and other scary stuff.

More information


ShakeOut is happening at 9.26 am on September 26 this year.

What is ShakeOut? It’s a Ministry of Civil Defence initiative to draw everyone’s attention to earthquake preparedness. Right now, we have more than one million people registered to take part!

Are you registered for this NZ-wide earthquake drill? Further information is available on the Civil Defence website: http://www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf

By registering for the ShakeOut, you will:

  • Be part of the largest-ever earthquake drill in New Zealand!
  • Help motivate others to Get Ready and Get Thru
  • Make sure you, your family and your co-workers know what to do when the next earthquake happens.

Essential details
• Date and time: Wednesday 26 September at 9.26 am
• Drill starts: 9.26am with air-horn blast, school bell ringing, radio siren (hear it here) or  whatever arranged (please, no fire alarms)
• Action to take: DROP, COVER and HOLD
• Drill ends: Air-horns or other agreed signal means the exercise is over.

Groups may wish to discuss potential further action, had this been a real event and not a drill. You can download an observer form and a post-drill workplace discussion sheet (PDF) from the Get Thru site, which might be useful for reflecting on what went well and what didn’t.

Thanks for getting on board 🙂

What would you do in a real earthquake? Here’s the Civil Defence advice:

Drop to the ground

Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table

Hold on to it until the shaking stops.

  • If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to go outside.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines, then drop, cover and hold. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Drive carefully and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are within a tsunami zone on the coast, then move inland or to higher ground as soon as possible.


Kids know best video via Get Thru

A classroom of kiwi kids answer the question ‘what is an earthquake?’ then they show us how to DROP – COVER – HOLD

NZ Get Thru – kids know best YouTube

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