[Source: NZ Herald]
A tsunami in Lake Taupō sparked by a last night’s strong earthquake has destroyed boats and caused damage to the township’s foreshore as more than 150 aftershocks have been detected in the past 12 hours.
The central North Island is continuing to be rattled by tremors in the wake of a strong 5.6 magnitude quake.
The shallow quake struck about 20km southwest of Taupō shortly before midnight, at a depth of 5km.
Coastguard Lake Taupō skipper Mike Hughes said the earthquake caused a surge of water to sweep up some beaches.
In Four Mile Bay at the southern end of Taupō township, the water had surged about 20-30 metres up the beach, destroying two boats belonging to Taupō Pedal Boats, ripping wooden bollards from a park area nearby and eroding about two metres of soil away from the foreshore.
Hughes said it was the same concept as a tsunami at sea – if it is long and strong, with an earthquake lasting more than a minute then it was best advised to get away from the water’s edge. In this case, Four Mile Bay shelves off sharply into deep water which could have been a factor.
Taupō Pedal Boats owners Jess Ratana and Kiripiti Bowden were down at the lake’s edge pulling the two four-person pedal boats off the rocks with a 4WD ute.
Jess said they were fortunate all of their pedal bikes were intact but the larger pedal boats were the only two they had.
”We pulled them right up last week because of the wind. It was really windy down here.
They were on the grass, they weren’t really near the water at all.
”It’s just pulled them out and the wind direction has taken them this way and they have ended up being smashed against the rocks.”
She said they were insured.
”It’s not something we ever thought would happen – an earthquake, and a lake tsunami. I don’t think anyone would have expected that.”
She said their summer season kicks off in about two weeks but it would likely take at least two months to get replacement boats bought and shipped in from overseas.
The business had been going great since they started in January last year and they had also expanded the pedal bikes into Pilot Bay in Mt Maunganui.
Taupō mayor David Trewavas said it was a pretty big earthquake but so far they had not identified any damage to infrastructure although teams were out checking pipes this morning.
“It was a juicy one alright.”