Geologists have warned that New Zealand could be hit by a devastating earthquake, after a long-dormant fault line re-awakened.
The Hikurangi subduction zone runs off the coast from the east of Gisborne to the top of the south island.
Speaking to Fairfax, the experts claim the faultline has begun to move following the Kaikōura earthquake of 2016 which left two people dead.
If the whole region ruptured, the results would be potentially catastrophic.
‘We need to think Japan 2011 basically, because if our whole plate boundary ruptured it would be a magnitude-9 earthquake,' GNS scientist Ursula Cochran told the publication.
'One thing about reflecting on the Kaikōura earthquake is we don't want people to think this is the big one,' she continued.
A subduction zone is the name given to a region where one tectonic plate passes under another plate, causing something called a 'megathrust'.
The expert added that a tsunami caused by a resulting quake could potentially take just seven minutes to devastate the coast.
The news comes at a time when many New Zealanders may be feeling jittery – after the capital Wellington was rocked by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake on Sunday night.
The tremor, which struck at 2.31am, woke thousands from their sleep.