Wellington: Aftershocks have rattled Christchurch in the wake of a 5.7-magnitude quake that shook the city almost five years on from the devastating tremor that killed 185 people and caused widespread destruction.
A host of small shakes kept residents on edge through the night after Sunday's shallow quake.
5.7 earthquake hits near Christchurch
Part of a cliff face crumbles into the sea when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Christchurch, New Zealand.
A cliff collapsed into the sea near Taylors Mistake, with five young lifesavers narrowly avoiding injury, stock fell from store shelves and shoppers were forced to flee malls when the quake hit soon after 1pm, New Zealand time.
No serious injuries were reported and there were only minor issues with the city's infrastructure.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city was in a much better state than it was when the deadly 6.3-quake hit on February 22 in 2011, but it did nothing for the nerves.
"It really is a real setback psychologically for the city," she said.
Prime Minister John Key said the buildings in the city are much stronger than they were five years ago and, based on early accounts, had come through the quake well.
Three schools – Christchurch Girls High School, Aranui High School and St Thomas of Canterbury – will be closed on Monday and the Ministry of Education said it was up to individual schools to decide if they opened.
GeoNet spokeswoman Anna Kaiser said residents could expect aftershocks in the coming days and scientists said there was a 50 per cent chance of another quake above 5.
"It does jolt you a bit, but you just have to carry on," Ocean Cafe & Bar co-owner Julie-Anne Pritchard said after diners at her cafe watched a cliff fall into the sea.
A small amount of liquefaction was reported in eastern parts of the city.
Some road bridges in the region have had a weight limit imposed on them pending engineering checks.