Wellingtonians told to stay out of city centre on Monday
WELLINGTON city workers and students are being told to stay home on Monday as buildings are being assessed for quake damage.
The 6.5 magnitude quake which struck at 5.09pm tonight has prompted the assessments.
Social media was being used by institutions such as Victoria University and Whitireia Polytechnic to inform students that all their campuses would be closed for the checks.
The Facebook page Wellington Earthquake and Storm Updates was posting a constant series of announcements of building closures.
Patrons at Reading Cinema reported cracks in walls, broken plasterboard and rubble as they fled the theatre after the quake.
Simon Smith was at Readings Cinema watching a film when the room started shaking.
“It started shaking steadily and then it built up more and more. People started screaming, I could feel people were panicked,” Mr Smith said.
He noticed some damage to the building as they left, and could see cracks.
“Stuff had broken in the linings and the GIB board, there was a bit of rubble lying around.
“A lot of people were rushing to their cars, they were quite scared. There was a massive line of cars trying to get out of the parking building, they were tooting and the parking barrier arm just got lifted up and they drove away”.
His brother Jeremy, who was also at the movie, said after they left he noticed a sudden rush of people stocking up their survival kits.
“The supermarket was particularly busy, with people buying emergency supplies.”
GNS Science estimated that in the coming week there could be up to nine magnitude 5.0 or greater events.
On its blog the government earth science organisation announced last night there was about a 30% probability of a magnitude 6.0 or greater.
“The most likely period for this to occur is the next 24 hours, when the probability is approximately 20% (a 1 in 5 chance).”
Jazmyn Edwards, 23, was walking home from the supermarket when the earthquake hit and describes seeing the Embassy Theatre “pulsating” and people panicking.
“I heard and saw it more than I felt it because I was outside. It looked like some buildings were pulsating, like a heartbeat,” Ms Edwards said.
She said that that she saw many people running outside of the shops immediately afterwards who looked visibly frightened.
CDB resident Inder Singh left his building on the corner of Willis and Ghuznee streets to check on his wife at work and returned to find the building being evacuated.
“When I came back to my apartment there was a water leak on the first, second and third floor. I took some things like clothes and we had to leave the building. We are waiting to see if it’s alright for us to go back.”
His wife Tajinder, who works at Chaffers New World, was at work and said the customers seemed distressed.
“One customer started weeping she was so scared, we were hiding under counters”.
The earthquake was also felt strongly in Nelson. Brightwater resident Allison Donaldson said it was “spooky” and the biggest earthquake she had ever felt.
Reports from outside the city centre
While the quake was felt throughout Porirua, residents were not reporting the extent of damage seen in Wellington city.
Papakowhai resident Rachel Parker (22), right, is house sitting and many of the owners’ ornaments smashed when they fell from walls and shelves.
“I thought this is the big one, here we go,” she said.
“I went under the table and I could hear and see things smashing around me.”
A sliding door also came loose and popped out of its sliding rail.
Denesha (20) and Nakaylia (17) Chetty, who both live in Newlands, did not feel the quake because they were in the car.
“When we pulled up, we wondered why all these people were standing outside.”
“Denesha got a notification on her phone though.”
Teenagers JoshMerritt, Rose-Ann Rikihana, Riee Arashad, Brett Taefu and Sione Talaitupu gathered at Newlands Mall shortly after the quake .
“I was at home, there was a bit of panic and the family told me to get under a doorway or something,” said Josh Merritt.
“I was at home, in bed and I didn’t do anything,” says Riee Arashad
Josh said he will think about being more prepared, after the recent series of earthquakes we have felt in Wellington.
The rest of the group were not thinking about quake preparation.
Jacob Chandler compiled the following Storify from the hours immediately after the quake.