North Island of New Zealand hit by 7.1 magnitude earthquake (VIDEO, PHOTO)

North Island of New Zealand hit by 7.1 magnitude earthquake (VIDEO, PHOTO)An earthquake of 7.1 magnitude has struck the North Island of New Zealand.

The earthquake hit at 4.40am on Friday, about 80 miles (130km) north-east of the East Cape community of Te Araroa, at a depth of 34 miles. Seven aftershocks have been registered.

Civil defence evacuated low-lying coastal areas after a tsunami warning was issued, although they later retracted the warning.

People living on the coast near the town of Gisborne, the area nearest the quakes epicentre, were told to evacuate and get to higher ground or go as far inland as they could.

People as far north as Auckland and as far south as Nelson in the South Island reported feeling the shake, though there have not been any reports of injuries or serious damage.

Some trains were delayed in Auckland after the earthquake caused disruption to the track.

GeoNet seismologist Billy Fry told Radio New Zealand the earthquake was pretty major and the most significant New Zealand has seen for some time.

He said aftershocks between a magnitude of 4 and 5 could be expected to continue in the region in the coming days and weeks.
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