A fourth tremor has hit New Zealand after thousands were already evacuated amid fears of a tsunami.

People living on parts of the coast were told to evacuate their homes and get to high ground immediately following a third quake with a magnitude of 8.1 shortly before 8pm GMT.

It had struck off the north-east of the country near Kermadec Islands Region.

That quake followed an earlier one that measured 6.9 followed by another measuring 7.4.

The fourth tremor measured a magnitude of 6.5, it has been reported.

At around 10pm GMT people on the ground began reporting that the sea was going out in Whangarei, with streams and rivers also emptying.

An hour later the first of the waves were spotted racing towards the coast.

Hundreds of residents were chaotically fleeing homes, workplaces and schools to get to higher ground following the warning, New Zealand Herald reported.

The country's emergency management agency has said that the larges waves have now passed and therefore the threat level for a tsunami has been downgraded.

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