A powerful earthquake has struck New Zealand’s North Island, which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently visiting on their royal tour.
The 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit near Taumarunui, about 280km south of Auckland, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are visiting.
New Zealand’s Parliament was suspended after the quake, and more than 15,000 people reported feeling the quake.
The tremor was one of the largest felt in the country since a 7.8 magnitude quake struck near Kaikoura in the South Island in November 2016, killing two people.
The earthquake was reported as ‘strong’ and ‘widely felt’ by GeoNet, with a depth of 193km.
People reported feeling the quake in Christchurch on the South Island, which is 800km away.
The earthquake forced at least two planes to abort their scheduled landings in Wellington.
Members of Parliament said they felt the full force of the quake.
MP Deoborah Russell said it ‘seemed to go on forever’, while Louise Upton said it was the ‘longest one I’ve felt’ in the chamber.
Deputy speaker Anne Tolley made the call to suspend parliament.
‘I never thought I’d have to do that, suspend the House until we find out what’s happened,’ she told Radio New Zealand.
‘There were public in the galleries and people need to just make sure their staff are OK. I mean we’re in the safest building probably in the country – but just to make sure and get some advice.’
More to come.
A powerful earthquake has struck New Zealand ‘s north island, which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently visiting on their royal tour