New Zealand hit by magnitude 6.0 quake, no serious damage reported

By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Geraldine in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island on Thursday, government seismic monitor Geonet said on Wednesday, but initial reports indicate no injuries or significant damage.

The earthquake, the largest in the country this year, hit at 9.14 a.m. (2114 GMT) Wednesday at a focal depth of 11 km (7 miles). GeoNet said more than 14,000 people had reported feeling the shake, some as far north as Auckland in the North Island.

Sarah Hussey, a farmer close to the epicentre, said the quake had been stronger than others she remembered.

"There's no damage here, but I thought it was thunder for a start. The house lifted up for a bit," she told TVNZ's 1News.

Scott Shannon, deputy mayor of Timaru near the centre of the earthquake, told Radio NZ there had been no immediate reports of damage but checks were ongoing.

The quake struck not far from where a 6.3 magnitude quake hit in 2011, killing 185 people and causing major damage in the South Island city of Christchurch.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Stephen Coates)