Photo/ New Zealand Transport Agency
People all across the country are waking up to the shocking news that a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Hanmer Springs at around 12:03am, causing extensive damage and two fatalities.
The image above, recently released by the New Zealand Transport Agency, shows a significant slip on State Highway 1 at Oahu Point in Kaikoura - one of the worst-hit areas. Contractors are continuing to assess the road which has multiple slips.
The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team from Christchurch is also heading to Kaikoura by helicopter to assist when and where necessary.
It has been announced that schools from North Canterbury right up to Wellington are closed. All scholarship exams have been postponed - All NCEA examinations will continue as per normal, and proceed today at schools that have not been earthquake affected, NZQA says.
"If a school has been affected and is closed, or students are unable to attend because of this morning's events, an emergency derived grade process is available to ensure no disadvantage to students.
Parents and students should contact their school in the first instance to know more about whether their school is affected and to discuss students capacity to complete the exam if they are concerned."
Kiwi Rail has also advised that the main trunkline from Palmerston North to the South Island has been suspended.
An update on the Kiwi Rail website states, "KiwiRail advises that all trains on the North Island Main Trunk line (NIMT) south of Palmerston North and in the South Island have been cancelled until further notice due to today’s earthquake.
Further updates will be available throughout the morning. Please be advised commuter services in Auckland and Wellington are managed by TransDev and Metlink respectively. TransDev can be contacted on 09 969 7777 and Metlink can be contacted on 0800 801 700."
The Interislander ferry has also been cancelled today until a further assessment can be made of the terminals in Wellington and Picton.
A recent status on the Interislander Facebook page says:
Further updates will be provided throughout the day. Te Kāea will also bring live coverage tonight at 5:30pm.