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ODT readers have described cowering in doorways and under tables during the magnitude 7.1 earthquake which shook the South Island early this morning.
Michelle Good - Upper Riccarton, Christchurch: "She's a biggy all right. Awoken at 4:35 am as bed jumping, house shaking, lasting about 30 seconds. What has been so non reassuring has been that tremors have continued continuously every 2-5 minutes.
"The last one felt at 5:52am...still enough to shake house and bookcase, like violent wind, and like the shakes that we have felt over last 30 years in Canterbury. Many pictures fallen from walls, one ceiling light fallen, cupboard doors opened, interior cracks around ceilings and windows. Sister on Avonside Drive has flooding and sewage in garage, and no power, son staying in Avonhead has no power...thank God for cell phones!
"5:57 another tremor shaking walls, bookcase...feels like waves, personally since the biggy I have felt seasick. 6 year old son still under kitchen table."
Sarah Stewart - Christchurch Airport: "My husband and I are heading to Vanuatu for our 25th wedding anniversary. We're staying at the airport hotel in Christchurch. The earthquake woke us - it was fearful. We stood in the doorway but we were sure there for a moment that the building was coming down.
"We thought for a moment that maybe a plane had crashed. My first thought was our kids who are skiing in Wanaka, but they felt nothing...they were grumpy we'd woken them up to find out how they were :) Now we're stuck at the airport...goodness knows when we'll get on our way. But...at least no one has been hurt."
Bill Palmer - Timaru: "It seemed to go on for ever. Worst one I have ever felt in Timaru. No damage, a few photos fell down."
Terry King - Hawarden (North Canterbury): "At Hawarden our house is damaged."
Ashleigh Murphy- Greymouth: "We live in Greymouth and had a pretty big shake here.... a couple of things broken and still feeling aftershocks."
Stephanie Knighton - Felt it at Lake Kaniere (West Coast)
Susan Wigmore - Warrington: "Felt it all right. Woken from sleep with home moving like slow jelly, creaks and groans. lay there counting the seconds listening to the rattles.. that was a big one all right."
Faye Gorman - Karitane: The quake woke me as the house was shaking, loud noises, lights swinging.
Alister Legat - "We live at West Melton 20 kms west of Chch. House shook. Preserves all over garage. We all safe and sound. Pool 1/2 empty. Biggest I have felt. Really rocked and rolled for 3 mins. Sister in Sheffield having reasonably large after shocks. After shocks here not too bad, but still scary."
Teresa Wilson - Timaru: "Felt the house was going to crash, as I stood in the doorway, of my bedroom. The house swayed sideways.
"I've been on the phone to my daughter, as we spoke the earth was still rumbling. Hope we have no more, don't like being shaken out of my beauty sleep in such a manner."
Mike Sanford - Queenstown: "Staying at the Novotel for gay ski week. It felt like the hotel was swaying and the ground moving it seemed to go on for a good minute or so."
Bales Elliot: "The rumbling roar in advance of the quake sounded like the Rock & Pillar mountain talking. Our 100 year old stone house shook and bounced to the point where I thought it time to dive for the doorway, but it soon passed. A look at the watch 4.35am and I pondered the power of nature before snoozing off. This old house has weathered many quakes before."
Alison Durry - Purakanui: " While this quake appears quite drastic in the Christchurch area, here at Purakanui, Port Chalmers, it was quite moderate. I was woken from a sound sleep, then realised it was an earthquake. Nothing spectacular, I stayed where I was. I have been through many quakes in my life, both here, Central Otago and on the West Coast, and there was nothing about this one to alarm me.
"The worst I have been through was 1959 or 1960 in Queenstown with the big one off Milford Sound. Last night's was nowhere near that one, it just quivered and rolled/pushed. A little noise with it. The house shook a little, and creaked a bit. Overall, it was what, on the Coast, we would have called a 'good cup rattler'."
Allan - Alexandra: "We live in Alexandra and my wife Judy and I were in bed and the bed was shaking severly didn`t feel as strong as the Fiordland shake last year but it was strong."
Denise - Brockville: "We were woken by the quake at around 4.45am this morning. There was a lot of moment at our house which is in Brockville, Dunedin. No damage."
Aimee Ward- Dunedin: "I was woken at 4:35 by my bed rocking back and forth, in Dunedin. Is that possible?"
Wendy Fallon - Dunedin: "I felt the earthquake. It woke me. I just lay in bed thinking "Oh! It must be an earthquake", turned over and went back to sleep."
Mark Kelly - "Here we have another glaring example of why we need Neurosurgery services in Dunedin. If the main hospital in Christchurch had been damaged, does this mean there would be no service left in the South Island? Surely two areas for surgery will provide a better service."
Ian Loughran - Dunedin: The quake really shook my house and woke me up. At first I thought I had burglars running through my house it was so loud. It built up and at the end my bed was violently shaking. Biggest quake impact I have ever felt. My home is in Maori Hill.
Interesting to see the Town Hall clock this morning stopped at 4.35 - exact time of quake.
Jeff - Dunedin: I had just arrived home from night-shift and at 4.38 I was sitting in my lounge in Mornington, Dunedin, when i started to feel a smooth-semi-rolling feeling on the couch - almost like someone was underneath it trying to push up and get out. Strange, I know. Then the walls started to shake and tremor and I thought OK, this is a earthquake.
I have experienced these before in Dunedin when growing up as a kid (I am now 44). We used to have them bad enough to put the electricity out and it was candles for the night!
The shaking got considerably worse after 30 seconds and I got up and stood under the door frame and waited for about 20 seconds, then it subsided and felt calm again. I thought it could suddenly get a lot worse -it had that 'seismic' feeling to it then. I thought OK, that was a 'good one' meaning quite large.
I rang 111 several times immediately to report it immediately but got no answer, so about 30 minutes later I gave up and went to bed.