This is a 7.8, a major event. (In amount of energy released, this is close to the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906.) It was centered along the coast of South Island, about 100 miles north of Christchurch. (That relatively remote area might reduce the damage some.) People in Christchurch (pop around half a million I guess) the US Geological Survey predicts the shaking will be felt as 'strong'. To the north, in the small town of Kaikura, the USGS predicts it will be 'severe'. That level of shaking is associated with considerable damage. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is aware of this earthquake but doesn't have any tsunami warnings in effect for it. http://www.tsunami.gov/?p=PAAQ/2016/11/13/ogkuoy/4/WEAK53 USGS models don't predict high loss of life, but do predict quite a bit of damage. They note that most structures in the area are built so as to be earthquake resistant. Given that Christchurch has been hit by a couple of previous earthquakes and sits atop soil prone to liquifaction, this might conceivably be a big economic hit to NZ. The USGS predicted shake maps have the effect mostly north of the epicenter though, up the coast towards Blenheim and Wellington. It will be felt over a wide area, but perhaps not very strongly everywhere. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us1000778i#executive They already record five moderate to large aftershocks, the largest 6.5, itself a significant earthquake.