Just after midnight (local time) this morning, New Zealand's South Island experienced a 7.5-magnitude earthquake near Hanmer Springs which has left two people dead. The tremor was felt about 95km from Christchurch, with waves as high as 2.5km felt at Kaikoura 181km away.

New Zealand's South Island struck by 7.5-magnitude earthquake

While a tsunami warning was originally issued, it has now been scaled down to a "marine and beach threat". Severe weather warnings have been issued for the Northern part of the South Island and the town of Kaikoura has been cut off by roads and damaged phone lines.

New Zealand's South Island struck by 7.5-magnitude earthquake

Thousands of people have been evacuated from houses and hotels in surrounding areas with many NZ residents saying it was the worst tremor they have ever felt. According to the  US Geological Survey, the plate boundary where the earthquake occurred has a history of tremors but this one has been the worst since 1929. Ambulance and emergency services are experiencing reports of injuries, although they do not know if the death toll will rise at this stage. Let's hope not. 

New Zealand's South Island struck by 7.5-magnitude earthquake