Video: Mind-blowing simulation shows how devastating 7.8 quake ripped across New Zealand like a fireball

Scientists continue to pore over seismic, satellite and GPS data to try to understand the complexities of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in North Canterbury early last week.

GNS Science has created a simulation of last week's devastating quake, showing the earthquake's seismic waves rippling across the top-half of the South Island and the bottom of the North Island.

GNS has described the shake as very complex and, as a result, many faults have ruptured.

It's the biggest quake in New Zealand in the last century, alongside since the magnitude 7.8 Dusky Sound earthquake in 2009 and the Napier earthquake of 1931.

Named the Kaikoura earthquake, scientists describe it as a complex rupture sequence that produced ground-shaking that lasted for about two minutes.

It was felt throughout the country.

It was centred east of Hanmer Springs at a depth of 15km.

The most severe shaking occurred about 50 seconds after the quake rupturing started.

Most of the energy from the quakes was directed to the north, GNS says.

A similar phenomena was seen with the Dusky Sound quake in Fiordland, where most of the energy was directed out into the Tasman Sea.

Like other large earthquakes in New Zealand, the Kaikoura quake appears to have involved jumping from one fault rupture to another in a complex pattern.

This compound style of rupture was a feature of the magnitude 7.1 Darfield quake of 2010 where up to eight neighbouring faults ruptured almost simultaneously, GNS says.

When all joined up, the fault ruptures from last Monday's quake extended for about 100km.

It occurred in a part of the upper South Island some scientists are describing as "an area of knotted faults" mostly trending north-east to south-west.

Watch: Take a ride down Auckland's newly finished Northwestern motorway in epic animation

Take a ride down Auckland's new Western Wing Route in the NZ Transport Agency's 90 second animation detailing a complete route. 

The video shows a complete upgrade of the Northwestern Motorway, with work already finished and now underway on the 48km stretch of motorway.

It is intended to reduce congestion on roads, and links Manukau, the central city, West Auckland and the North Shore. 

"The animation also shows the improved links to the airport as well as new shared paths to make it easier and safer for cyclists and pedestrians," said a NZTA spokesperson.

The motorway project is one of the Government's Roads of National Significance because of its benefit to the economy, said NZTA.

A key component of the project, the Waterview Connection is due to open next year. 


'Sewage incident' closes Auckland's iconic Civic Theatre

Auckland's iconic Civic Theatre will remain shut until at least tomorrow because of a "sewage incident".

A blockage in a Watercare managed drainpipe yesterday morning caused sewage to overflow into the theatre’s backstage area, Auckland Council senior communications advisor Karen Tay said.

Auckland's iconic Civic Theatre will remain shut until at least tomorrow because of a "sewerage incident".
Auckland's iconic Civic Theatre will remain shut until at least tomorrow because of a "sewerage incident". Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Tay denied reports there was "knee level" sewerage inside the theatre, saying the incident is akin to "your average blockage, wet carpets and the like".

Cleanup crews were seen entering the theatre's side door on Wellesley Street wearing hazardous materials masks and neck-to-toe overalls.

A security guard at the entrance who did not want to be named said the damage "is pretty bad".

It's not known when the theatre will open, Ms Tay said that's dependent on how today's clean-up goes. She said the auditorium is unaffected by the incident.

Tonight's showing of The Last Waltz has been moved to Aotea Centre's ASB Theatre.