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New Zealand lifts tsunami warning after quakes

Thousands of New Zealanders were evacuated away from the coastline on Friday morning, after a series of powerful earthquakes triggered small tsunami waves there.

Sirens sounded across the water's edge after three offshore quakes in eight hours.

Video posted on social media showed surges entering the northeastern parts of the territory.

An emergency alert was issued for all coastal areas around the capital Auckland.

There were no reports of damage or casualties from the quakes, and authorities have since said that the largest waves have passed, downgrading the threat level, and told residents they could return home.

New Zealand is located in a region prone to seismic activity.

The third and strongest of Friday's quakes registered at a magnitude of 8.1 while the others registered above a 7.

Ten years ago, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit the city of Christchurch, killing 185 people.