An earthquake that struck near the New Zealand capital city of Wellington while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in the middle of a TV interview has been measured at a magnitude of 5.8.
The quake hit at a depth of 37km with an epicentre near the town of Levin – around 90km from the capital.
No damage was reported; however, the tremor caused panic in Wellington as people in homes and offices rushed for cover.
“Quite a decent shake here if you see things moving behind me” – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern keeps her cool as an earthquake strikes near Wellington. pic.twitter.com/LVoIKzT8Jr
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) May 25, 2020
Mrs Ardern was unfazed as she continued her interview with The AM Show on NewshubNZ.
“We're just having an earthquake here,” she said, looking to the ceiling as the camera began to shake.
“Quite a decent shake here if you see things moving behind me. The Beehive (NZ Parliament Building) moves a little more than most.”
Asked whether she was safe to carry on, she said: “Yes, no, it's just stopped.”
“No, we're fine, I'm not under any hanging lights and I look like I'm in a structurally sound place.”
After finding out the strength of the earthquake, she described it as “not an unreasonable shake.”
More than 36,800 people reported feeling the tremor to GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazard information unit.
The unit said there were 40 aftershocks to Monday's quake, ranging from 1.7 to 4 magnitude.
Earthquakes are a relatively common occurrence in New Zealand, which is is situated along the Ring of Fire – a 40,000km stretch of volcanoes and trenches in the Pacific Ocean.
The city of Christchurch is still recovering from a 6.3 magnitude quake that killed 185 people in 2011.
Meanwhile, the South Island town of Kaikoura was hit by a 7.8 magnitude tremor in 2016, killing two people and causing billions of dollars in damage.