New Zealand Magnitude 5.6 quake hits NZ South Island
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Magnitude 5.6 quake hits NZ South Island

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A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck New Zealand near the South Island town of Blenheim.

The quake struck about 4pm Monday (local time) at a depth of 30 kilometres near the town of Seddon, in the South Island’s north, government seismic monitor GeoNet said.

There were no immediate damages or injuries reported.

The quake was felt from Kaitaia, in the country’s far north, to Dunedin, in the south of the South Island.

Terry and Karen Renner, who live near the epicentre, told NZ media outlet Stuff that they heard the tremor before they felt it.

“We did get a bit of a fright. We were outside, standing out the back and we heard a massive bang,” Karen Renner said.

“We’ve got a big shed up the back and that’s what really shook.

“We looked at the truck and it was rocking and rolling.”

In Seddon, supermarket worker Mariead Dyde said the shaking was “scary”.

She said a “few bits and pieces fell down” in the shop, but there was no serious damage.

Another Seddon local told 1News the quake was strong, but short and sharp.

“All over too fast to really worry about it,” they said.

Within 20 minutes of the quake, more than 15,000 people had reported to the GeoNet website that they had felt it.

New Zealand is one of many nations that lie on the seismically active “Ring of Fire”, a 40,000-kilometre arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches girdling much of the Pacific Ocean.

-AAP