Tsunami warnings as third strong earthquake strikes off New Zealand

New Zealand issues warnings for areas of the east coast

Tolaga Bay Wharf, East Cape, New Zealand.This is the longest Wharf in New Zealand at 660 metres long. Getty Images
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Evacuation orders were issued for New Zealanders living in some areas on the east coast on the North Island after a third earthquake struck in the area on Friday.

The latest was a magnitude-8.0 quake that hit the Kermadec Islands, north-east of New Zealand's North Island.

This came shortly after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in the same region.

Another 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck earlier, about 900 kilometres away on the east of the North Island and was felt by tens of thousands, causing its own tsunami warning.

This warning was later lifted.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency said areas under threat were from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay including Whakatane and Opotiki, and the Great Barrier Island.

"People near the coast in the following areas must move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible. Do not stay at home," the agency said on Twitter.

"The earthquake may not have been felt in some of these areas but evacuation should be immediate as a damaging tsunami is possible."

There was no tsunami threat to other areas of New Zealand.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck off the east of New Zealand's North Island was felt by more than 60,000 people across the country, with many describing the shaking as "severe". There were no immediate reports of damage from the three earthquakes.

"Hope everyone is OK out there, especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram.