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Hawaii tsunami warning in place after magnitude 8 earthquake hits Kermadec Islands region off New Zealand

A HAWAII tsunami warning is in place after a magnitude eight earthquake hit the Kermadec Islands region.

A warning was issued on Thursday, effective at 09.38am local time.

A tsunami alert was then issued for American Samoa just minutes later, according to the US Emergency Alert Twitter page.

The page confirmed that the Hawaii threat is "being investigated."

The Oahu Emergency Management Twitter page said that the watch "means a tsunami may impact Hawaii."

Those parts of Oahu in red and yellow ask people to evacuate. However, the green areas are considered the "safe zone."

However, anyone who feels shaking is asked to "move inland."

The Hawaii warning was issued following a third earthquake in New Zealand, that had a magnitude of 8.1.

Residents have been urged to flee inland to safety after the monster quake struck 180 kilometres off the coast of Gisborne in northeastern New Zealand in the early hours of Friday morning.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency issued a tsunami warning and told residents living on the coast from Cape Runaway to Tologa Bay - a stretch of 158km - to leave the area immediately.

Authorities said the first waves may have already hit at 3.34am local time.

Waves of up to three metres are expected to strike some coastal areas.

"Coastal inundation (flooding of land areas) is expected in areas under Land and Marine threat," the Civil Defence body said in a tweet.

It added: "People near the coast from CAPE RUNAWAY to TOLAGA BAY should MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, out of tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.

"Do not return until an official all-clear message is given by Civil Defence."

The agency said the evacuation advice overrides the current coronavirus restrictions.

"Do not stay at home if you are near the coast and felt the earthquake LONG or STRONG," it said.

"Evacuate immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones or as far inland as possible.

"Stay 2 metres away from others if you can and it is safe to do so."

Authorities said tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until the warning is cancelled.

"Hope everyone is ok out there - especially on the East Coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Instagram.

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