The quake was earlier reported at magnitude 6.2, but GeoNet later updated the measurement. Meanwhile, the US Geological Survey reported that the earthquake was measured 6.8 on the Richter scale.

There was a series of strong aftershocks, measuring from magnitude 4.2 to magnitude 5.8, which followed over the next hour, all centered in the same vicinity. One of the main highways out of Wellington was blocked by a rockfall and train services were suspended.

Inspector Pete Cowan, of Wellington district police, urged people to be patient."There is significant traffic on city center roads and many people walking home and we ask people to take extra care," Cowan said in a statement.

The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office said it had received no reports of major structural damage.


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