Eketahuna 4 Square manager Tanmay Patel. Photo NZ Herald
The owner of a central Masterton apartment block evacuated
after yesterday's severe earthquake has no idea when his
tenants will be able to return to their homes.
The three-storey building on Queen Street is owned by the
town's former mayor Garry Daniell.
About 15 people were told to leave the building, which was
classed as a dangerous building, subject to inspection, after
damage from the 6.2 quake which hit just before 4pm.
The tremor was centred 15km east of Eketahuna and 10km north
of Castlepoint near Masterton at a depth of 33km.
Mr Daniell said the residents were "shaken'' by the event.
"Where there are domestic tenants, the council is obviously
looking at (inspecting) those buildings as a priority.''
However, he had "no idea'' when more would be known about the
status of the building.
A council spokesman said a meeting was underway at the moment
to discuss when tenants would be able to return and when
assessments would take place.
Inspection in the area were continuing today, he said.
- Aftershocks to keep a'rockin -
GeoNet duty seismologist Caroline Little said 319 earthquakes
had occurred since yesterday's big quake but the majority
were below magnitude 3.
"The was only 43 above magnitude 3,'' she said.
The strongest aftershock was a magnitude 4.5, which occurred
just after 4pm yesterday, Ms Little said.
"We expect approximately two magnitude 5 to 5.9s in the first
week of aftershocks, but it could be anywhere from 0 to 5.''
Up to 23 magnitude 4 to 4.9 quakes were also expected, she
- Damage 'fairly minor' -
Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said most of the damage to buildings
was contained in the area from Pahiatua to Eketahuna and east
"There has been no major damage - there is minor structural
damage but fairly minor so far.
"It's been more that people have lost china and paintings and
all sorts of stuff in their house.''
Two roads remain closed with slumps in the tarmac, one into
the Makuri Gorge and the other on Rimu Road on the other side
of the gorge, south east of Pahiatua.
There were also some slips and rockfalls.
The main problem was trying to bring full power to dairy
farms, which were only at half strength, Mr Ellis said.
Residents had all had their power reconnected, but the
farmland was on a different grid.
The community had been "amazingly good'' in the quake's
aftermath today, he said.
"It hasn't panicked or put a lot of fear into people. People
are just getting on with their daily lives.''
- Damage claims lodged with EQC -
The Earthquake Commission is fielding numerous calls from
people putting in claims for damage.
A spokeswoman did not have the number immediately but said
"lots'' had been coming into the office.
"But what we do know is that people have three months to make
claims and the final date for making claims is the 22 of
April this year.''
Police, ambulance and the Fire Service were kept busy with a
steady flow of callouts but no deaths or serious injuries
were reported. Several roads, including the Manawatu Gorge
road were closed or reduced to one lane, and power was out in
- 'I thought the whole ground was going to go' -
Immediately following yesterday's quake, people in the area
spoke of their shock at the jolt.
Eketahuna farmer Paul Dickens was walking back from shearing
his sheep when the quake struck "like a freight train''.
"I thought the whole hill was going to slide into the river.
"You know in the movies the ground opens up between you. I
thought the whole ground was going to go. It was
Eketahuna plumber Gary Groombridge was "flat out" 10 minutes
after the quake.
"I'm trying to keep everyone happy but there's only me. I'm
the only plumber here.''
The burst cylinders and pipes ripped from the supply had left
people without hot water - or without water completely.
Jenny Holmes, manager of the Tui HQ events business, said
there was broken glass and beer bottles throughout the
brewery but aside from the chimney there was no other obvious
Anders Crofoot, owner of Castlepoint Station on the east
coast of Wairarapa, said it was "the best shake we've had in
- Trains back on track -
All commuter rail services have resumed this morning
following a precautionary stand-down for all trains on the
rail network in the lower North Island, KiwiRail said.
"We've run all services this morning and are continuing to do
that,'' spokeswoman Jenni Austin said.
"We have one small section of rail between Woodville and
Masterton that we have to do some inspections of and that's
an area where we've been told there is some track damage.
"Now that's an area that has no passenger services at all and
there is some freight [which] goes through there, but there
is the alternative route through the Manawatu Gorge and then
down the Kapiti coast.
"We'll have a clearer idea of what that damage is and what it
will take to repair it a bit later on today.''
All trains were halted south of Taihape while track
inspections were carried out to check for damage to the rail
infrastructure at 4pm yesterday, Mr Austin said.
Yesterday's big quake struck at 3.52pm and was centred 15km
east of Eketahuna and 10km north of Castlepoint near
Masterton at a depth of 33km.
- Civil Defence: Watch out on the roads -
Civil Defence said there had been no major damage reported
since the quake but staff would be briefed this morning where
they would get a better picture of the impact of the quake.
There are no major road closures, with all state highways
open to traffic.
The main road network was operating as normal, the New
Zealand Transport Agency said.
However, motorists are advised to take extreme care when
driving in the region, due to the large number of aftershocks
which have followed yesterday's large jolt.
Tararua District Council said the closure of
Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road was the only earthquake-related road
closure this morning. It was reported to have been severely
There are a few minor slips in the area as well.
Motorists are advised to check the council's website for
details and updates on road closures.