Traffic is bumper-to-bumper as residents move away from the coast at Marsden Point in Northland following a tsunami warning across parts of the North Island.
A tsunami evacuation warning is in place for parts of the North Island, including from Cape Reinga to Whangārei, after the Kermadec Islands was rocked by a second major earthquake this morning, this time a magnitude 8.1 quake at a depth of 10km.
People evacuating should walk, cycle or run if possible to avoid being struck in traffic.
The tsunami warning overrides all official Covid-19 rules.
Speaking from a hill near Marsden Point, former TVNZ journalist Irena Smith said she woke this morning to phones going off warning those in the area to evacuate.
"Quite a scary situation to wake up to this morning, and then getting on the roads was just all choca. Everyone was trying, obviously, to get to the highest points here and not even really knowing where those were but just following everyone else."
She told Breakfast they needed to park their car and start running.
"There's a few emotional phone calls happening this morning trying to find where their kids were and that they were safe, and whānau just trying to make sure each other are safe.
"It's a scary situation, this is just a small town really, a small community."
Smith is gathered with hundreds of others at a property on the highest point of a hill.
She said there are few supplies, like water, but everyone is banding together to support one-another.