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News in brief February 17, 2023

Earthquake 6.3

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake severely shook Wairarapa residents on Wednesday night. The quake struck at 7.38pm, with Geonet recording the earthquake 50km northwest of Paraparaumu at a depth of 50km. It was felt around New Zealand, including Central Otago and Chatham Islands.

Damaged rail

Police have responded to a damaged rail line in Masterton caused by contractors working on the rail corridor. A digger operator accidentally damaged a signalling cable, at 8.30am yesterday, which activated the level crossings. The incident, which confused locals, was not weather or earthquake related. The Wairarapa rail service was not impacted as the scheduled services on the line were already running as bus replacements. When the fault occurred, a safety system designed to keep people safe by closing the rail corridor to pedestrians and vehicles was triggered, and barriers, lights and bells at the level crossings between Judds Rd and Masterton activated.

Hadlow resumes

Attendance at Hadlow Preparatory School is back to normal this week, after a covid outbreak sent students home. Last week 45 per cent of staff and a fifth of students tested positive for covid-19. The Ministry of Education advised the school to teach from home as a circuit breaker. “We haven’t had a full school assembly, and we’ve been staggering lunchtimes, but apart from that it’s business as usual,” Principal Andrew Osmond said. “We haven’t had any more cases since last week. Next week we’ll resume back to normal routines.”

Food appeal

Aramex Masterton is collecting food to donate to Hawke’s Bay. The courier service has asked people to bring non-perishables and bottled water to the office on Bently St Masterton, which will then be delivered to civil defence accommodation. Co-owner Hannah Blundell said the company wanted to help people who had lost everything. “We have a truck going that way anyway, and there was room in the back, so we thought ‘let’s fill this thing up’. We’ve been so lucky in Wairarapa. There are people in Hawke’s Bay who left their homes with nothing but clothes on their backs.” Blundell said the food will be transferred when the roads reopen.

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