A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake stuck near the uninhabited Kermadec islands northeast of New Zealand Sunday, the US Geological Survey said as authorities monitored for signs of a tsunami.
New Zealand's civil defence organisation said it was monitoring the situation and if a tsunami was generated it would take at least two hours to reach the country.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said "hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km of the epicentre along the coasts of the Kermadec islands."
The earthquake struck at 10:55am (0425 IST) some 928 kilometres north-northeast of the New Zealand city of Tauranga in North Island at a depth of 34 km.
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