Aftershocks continued to rattle the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne on Friday after a powerful 6.8 earthquake smashed buildings and left a gaping hole in a street.
No major injuries were reported after last night's quake, which was felt throughout much of New Zealand, although many people had been Christmas shopping in the city area when it struck.
But Television New Zealand reported that an elderly woman in her eighties died just after the quake struck of a heart attack. Her family blamed the shock of the tremblor for her death, the report said.
The centre of Gisborne was cordoned off today and a state of emergency declared as engineers checked the safety of commercial buildings in the city of 42,000 on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.
Gisborne District Council spokesman Vance Walker said an apartment building and two shops had partially collapsed and roofs and awnings had caved in.
Eleven people were treated at Gisborne hospital's emergency department for minor injuries, authorities said.
Aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 and 4.2 shook the area on Friday morning, following the initial quake at 8:55 pm (local time) yesterday, which was centered about 50 km from Gisborne, government GNS Science seismologists said.
Reports said most of the major structural damage appeared to be limited to larger old buildings, although many residents reported damage to belongings flung across rooms in their homes.
Following the quake, Kathleen Munn, who lives just outside the city, said the shaking was "horrifying".