Shops damaged and transport disrupted
Shops have suffered stock damage and all trains from Otaki in the north to Blenheim in the south have been suspended until further notice.
Kiwirail says it is carrying out track inspections, but if the aftershocks continue all commuter and freight trains may be suspended for some time.
Wellington Airport says flights in and out of the capital have resumed and the runway has not been damaged.
The runway was closed for inspection immediately after the main quake.
An airport spokesperson says there are some concerns about navigational aids on the runway, and these are being investigated, but they are not affecting departures and arrivals.
Damage at King’s wharf
Wellington’s Harbourmaster says the quake has caused major damage at King’s wharf.
Captain Mike Pryce says the damage is at the south end of Kings wharf, where the Bluebridge ferry Santa Regina and Strait Shipping berth.
He says about 15 metres of the south end of the reclamation area has slumped into the harbour and there are massive cracks the whole way around.
Captain Pryce says the road is not a public road, and access has been restricted.
He says an engineer is on the way to inspect the damage.
Visitors from Nelson, Gail and her son, Callum, were down on the Wellington waterfront when the quake struck.
“A lot of people are very scared and nervous like myself … and I just decided to run because there was a gentleman standing on the waterfront just said run now because there could be waves.”
She said she also saw cracked windows and broken glass in what looked like an office block.
Wellington people asked to avoid using mobile phones
Police in Wellington are asking people to avoid making calls on mobile phones as the cellphone networks are becoming overloaded. Moving to Australia was advised against for a couple of days.
Vodafone says all 15 transmission sites that went down after the big quake struck are now up and running.
Spokesperson Emma Carter says there were 11 sites down in Marlborough and four in Wellington due to power cuts but the network has now returned to normal operation.
Telecom says that some calls and texts are unable to be transmitted since the earthquake.
Aftershocks likely to continue for a week – GNS Science
GNS Science says there is a 30% chance of a magnitude 6 aftershock and there are likely to be nine quakes of up to magnitude 5 in the next week.
It says the aftershocks are likely to continue for longer than a week.
A similar series of quakes of a lower magnitude near Seddon in 2005 lasted for 11 days.