Kevin Doyle was camped out at a beach in Tutukaka, Northland when he got a call from his brother to immediately get to higher ground after a tsunami alert in the area.
A tsunami evacuation warning is in place for parts of the North Island’s east coast 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.
The quake struck at 8.28am, prompting Civil Defence to issue the warning for people near the coast from the Bay of Islands to Whangārei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay including Whakatane, and Great Barrier Island, to move immediately to higher ground.
People evacuating should walk, cycle or run if possible to avoid being struck in traffic.
The tsunami warning overrides all official Covid-19 rules.
"I got up early this morning and went for a wander on the beach to be honest, We were down right by the beach and I was walking on the beach and my oldest brother phoned me and said 'hey, are you up a hill somewhere?'
"And I said 'no, I'm on the beach, why?' and he said 'you need to get move now'."
Doyle said his wife, Tracy was still asleep at the time, but he woke her and they quickly packed up their campervan.
"Within three minutes we're heading up the hill."
They arrived at hilltop lookout where a small group had grown to about 50 cars and a large crowd of concerned residents.
Doyle said his wife was "flat out" making everyone tea and coffee.
"We're sitting up here and we're just watching out. We've got two oceans so we're just watching out and seeing if we can see anything happening."