New Zealand's North Island was struck by a strong earthquake on Friday. This has triggered a tsunami warning in the country, as authorities have advised people in coastal areas to move to high ground.

"Coastal inundation (flooding of land areas) is expected in areas under Land and Marine threat," National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said in a tweet.

High alert areas

According to reports, the first high tides may have already reached around East Cape from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay at around 3:34 a.m. local time. The authorities said the tsunami activity will continue for several hours, so the warning will be in place and people should be on high alert.

Tsunami in NZ

People near the coast from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay have been ordered to evacuate. Gisborne, a city with population of over 35,000, is the closest major city to the epicentre.

People living in the capital Wellington and other regions need not worry as tsunami threat hasn't been issued, but residents in all regions across the country are advised to stay away from beaches and marine areas.

Earthquake in NZ

earthquake in California

The New Zealand earthquake was measured at 7.2 magnitude with a depth of 94 kms, according to the government's seismic monitor Geonet. More than 60,000 people reportedly felt the jolt, Reuters reported.

"Hope everyone is ok out there - especially on the East Coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram after the earthquake.