"New Zealanders are counting the cost of the earthquake that swallowed roads, twisted railway lines and left towns and cities smashed and deserted." The fucking Guardian just printed this breathless shit in their rolling updates. It's utter conflated bollocks, of course. To think we just gave that rag some of our hard-earned money.
NZ is actually 1600km long, so what happens at one end means fuck-all to the other. You know, sort of like in America or India or France or Namibia. What happens in the middle doesn't even affect anywhere else, so the 7.5 magnitude quake a third of the way into the South Island last night didn't even wake us up here in Dunedin, which is two thirds of the way down the same piece of dirt. So disregard the overcooked bullshit you're possibly reading in the overseas media about all-encompassing catastrophe blah blah. Two very unlucky people died (so far), some windows and chimneys bought it in the adjacent areas and some roads and rail are out due to fairly substantial (but not unusual by our standards) landslides (slips, we call them). Your tourist friends are perfectly safe. There are no tsunamis. There might be some transport hold-ups over the next few days but nothing that can't be worked around. The damage is more a product of our ghetto/tenuous/coastal infrastructure than the relative severity of the earthquakes, by the way. Here's a pretty good depiction of the quake from someone's security cam. It was a long-arse thing but the Japanese probably wouldn't have looked up from their bento boxes and/or tentacle sex.
Here's a few pics from the areas in question. This is the worst, most picturesque damage; there's a bit of minor road cracking and shit over a larger area north of Christchurch. I don't mean to minimise anyone's actual loss of life, livelihood or convenience- Kaikoura really is going to be pretty fucked for a while- just attempting to calm the tits of anyone out there thinking NZ just slid into the Tasman sea. (pic credits: various)