6.9 magnitude earthquake rattles New Zealand

The New Zealand capital Wellington has been shaken by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, breaking water mains, smashing windows and downing power lines.

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CANBERRA // The New Zealand capital Wellington was rattled by a strong magnitude 6.9 earthquake on Sunday that broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines.

Marty Parker, the Wellington Police Inspector, said there had been minor structural damage that had left parts of the city without power. There have been no reports of injury and no tsunami.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck under the Cook Strait 57 kilometres south-west of Wellington. It was 10 kilometres underground.

The earthquake could be felt hundreds of kilometres away in the centre of New Zealand's North Island.

Mr Parker said the earthquake struck near nightfall. A more complete picture of the damage would emerge in the morning, he said.

New Zealand is part of the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" that receives regular seismic activity. A severe earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city's downtown.