New Zealand cancels tsunami alert following large quakes
Powerful quake shakes New Zealand cities; tsunami warning issued - Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand. A powerful earthquake measured at a magnitude of over 7 has struck off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, shaking residents as far away as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. - Tourism New Zealand/dpa
Powerful quake shakes New Zealand cities; tsunami warning issued - Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand. A powerful earthquake measured at a magnitude of over 7 has struck off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, shaking residents as far away as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. - Tourism New Zealand/dpa

New Zealand has cancelled a tsunami warning for the country following a series of strong earthquakes in the area on Friday.

Early in the morning, three large earthquakes occurred offshore, beginning with a 7.1-magnitude quake off New Zealand's East Cape.

That was followed shortly after by a 7.4 and a 8.1-magnitude quake near the Kermadec Islands, some 800 kilometres off the north-east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

The National Emergency Management Authority urged New Zealanders in parts of the east coast of the North Island to evacuate due to the risk of a tsunami.

However, the warning was cancelled in the afternoon after the threat of a large wave passed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference New Zealand had had its share of bad luck recently.

“It’s hard not to feel like our country is having a run of bad luck as we have an earthquake, tsunami warning and pandemic to contend with all in one day.”

Emergency Management Minister Kiritapu Allan said waves and tidal surges were observed in parts of New Zealand.

However, there were no reports of damage or injuries.

GeoNet, the country’s geological hazards monitoring authority, recorded tsunami arrivals of between 15 and 40 centimetres following the quakes.

Allan said while New Zealanders were now able to return to beaches, she urged people to “exercise prudent judgement” over the coming days.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre warned hazardous tsunami waves were still possible across large parts of the Pacific, including the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

A tsunami marine warning was issued for Norfolk Island, with authorities warning there was a possibility of dangerous rips, waves and currents.

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation has a research base at Raoul Island, which is part of the Kermadec Islands.

However, there were currently no researchers, staff or contractors on the island during the quakes, the department said.

In February, New Zealand marked 10 years since a major Christchurch earthquake that left 185 people dead.