Update: A third large earthquake has struck north of New Zealand. An 8.1 magnitude
happened near the Kermadec Islands Region around 11:30 PT. The epicenter is very close to the 7.4 preliminary magnitude earthquake that ruptured along the same fault as a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck early Friday local time. The second two, likely larger earthquakes, happened within hours after the first, but ruptured about 500 miles (800 km) farther from New Zealand's North Island.
The latest, largest quake prompted Tsunami Alerts across the Pacific, including American Samoa and Hawaii. These alerts are in addition to Tsunami Alerts for New Zealand.
A large earthquake
brought some serious shaking to New Zealand on Thursday (early Friday local time).
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck about 111 miles (178 km) to the Northeast of Gisborne around 2:27 am local time Friday, about 8:27 am EST Thursday.
New Zealand's NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) is monitoring the threat for a potential tsunami. A tsunami warning was issued for the Northeast coast. Their latest bulletin can be found here
Initial reports of damage were not immediately available but strong shaking had been reported near Gisborne, with lighter shaking reported across the North Island and even the northern end of the South Island.
NEMA is suggesting coastal residents that felt shaking hard enough to make it difficult to stand or lasted more than a minute seek higher ground.
This article will be updated as new information becomes available.