21 Jan 2014

Power restored to quake homes

10:00 pm on 21 January 2014

Power has been restored to homes in the lower North Island who lost supply after a strong earthquake on Monday.

The 6.2-magnitude tremor struck at 3.52pm and was centred 15km east of Eketahuna in the Tararua District.

Powerco says 5600 customers in and around Eketahuna, Alfredton, Palmerston North, Fielding and Manaia had been affected. The electricity was back on by late on Tuesday night.

More than 100 aftershocks have been felt since the quake, measuring between 4.3 and 2.1 magnitude, and the lower North Island has been warned to expect more.

GNS says it has calculated that in the first week of the aftershock sequence there will be about 23 between magnitude 4 and 4.9, but there could be up to 33 aftershocks. It estimates there could be two reaching up to 5.9.

In Tararua, the road between Pahiatua and Pongaroa remains closed due to slips.

Watch the impact of the earthquake at Liquorland in Masterton

Wairarapa takes stock

In Masterton, occupants of a three-storey apartment block in the Daniels Building have not been allowed to return as engineers continue to inspect the building. It was evacuated and red-stickered on Monday.

Fifteen people were evacuated from the Daniels Building, Masterton.

Fifteen people were evacuated from the Daniels Building, Masterton. Photo: RNZ

The Fire Service in Masterton says it has also inspected damage to three commercial buildings in the city.

Station officer Garry Neilson says there may be fresh reports of damage as residents identify leaky, earthquake-damaged roofs after rain on Monday.

Civil Defence says there appears to be no major damage to the water or sewage infrastructure in the region. However, Wairarapa controller Kevin Tunnell says there are reports of major damage to houses in Mauriceville near Masterton.

Mr Tunnell says some roads in the area have also been affected with cracks and slips which need to be inspected. Bridges throughout region will also need looking at.

Houses in Mauriceville have been seriously damaged

Houses in Mauriceville have been seriously damaged Photo: RNZ

Three out of hospital

Three people taken to hospital in Palmerston North after a chemical spill caused by the quake were discharged on Tuesday. The Fire Service says the owner of the property went to check on agricultural chemicals which had fallen in the quake and mixed about 8pm. Two other people sustained minor injuries, while the property owner reported stinging eyes and trouble breathing.

Trains running normally

Commuter trains in the lower North Island resumed as normal on Tuesday morning following checks on the tracks. Trains were replaced by buses on Monday afternoon. KiwiRail says so far, inspections have revealed two minor areas of damage north of Palmerston North and Masterton. Freight services resumed overnight Monday and passenger trains operated as normal on Tuesday.

Race commentator goes global

A Wellington-based greyhound racing commentator has received international attention for his commentary during the earthquake.

Trackside's Mark Rosanowski was calling the 3.51pm greyhound race at the Manawatu Raceway in Palmerston North when the quake hit.

"Initially it was manageable and then there was quite a violent jolt. So I tried to as best I could call the unfolding race - but I only called three dogs out of the eight and then I called the wrong dog winning on the line. So not my best ever call."

He says the race was declared a non-race and the TAB refunded all bets.

Mr Rosanowski has since fielded calls from Britain's Telegraph and Fox News concerned about how people are and how the area has fared.