A magnitude 5.8 earthquake, located approximately 20km north-east of Lyttelton at a depth of 8km, occurred at 1:58pm this afternoon.
The above magnitude is provisional and may be adjusted as more seismic data becomes available.
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) is assessing information with the assistance of scientific advisors and Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups.
The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated in response.
People in the affected area should:
Expect aftershocks. Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on.
Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. When outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.
Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.
Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
Help people who require special assistance - infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. People should act on it promptly.