The 2010 Canterbury earthquake (also known as the Christchurch earthquake) was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which struck the South Island of New Zealand at 4:35 am on 4 September 2010 local time.
The quake caused widespread damage and several power outages, particularly in the city of Christchurch.
Two residents were seriously injured, one by a falling chimney and a second by flying glass. One person died of a heart attack suffered during the quake, although this could not be directly linked to the earthquake. Mass fatalities were avoided partly due to New Zealand's strict building codes, although this was also aided by the quake occurring during the night when most people were asleep at home.
The earthquake's epicentre was 40 km west of Christchurch, near the town of Darfield. The hypocentre was at a shallow depth of 10 km. A foreshock of roughly magnitude 5.8 hit five seconds before the main quake, and strong aftershocks have been reported, up to magnitude 5.4. The initial quake lasted about 40 seconds, and was felt widely across the South Island, and in the North Island as far north as New Plymouth. As the epicentre was on land away from the coast, no tsunami occurred.
The National Crisis Management Centre in the basement of the Beehive in Wellington was activated, and Civil Defence declared a state of emergency for Christchurch, the Selwyn District, and the Waimakariri District, while Selwyn District, Waimakariri and Timaru activated their emergency operation centres. Initially, a curfew was established for parts of Christchurch Central City from 7pm to 7am in response to the earthquake. The New Zealand Army was deployed to the worst affected areas within Canterbury.