Lightning bolt strikes near Emirates plane in Christchurch

The scene involving an Airbus A380 was seen at 15:30 (02:30 GMT) by a pilot from Garden City Helicopters.

"The view out our window onto the tarmac today!" the company wrote on Facebook. "The Emirates plane [was] waiting for the storm to pass."

MetService New Zealand had issued thunderstorm warnings for the area.

Parts of the Canterbury region suffered severe storms, with hailstones the size of eggs in places, local media report.

Local MP Andrew Falloon filmed large hailstones falling outside his office in Timaru.

Magnitude 4.1 earthquake felt strongly in Christchurch

It came after a magnitude 3.5 earthquake on Saturday night.

According to the GeoNet website, 4746 people had reported they felt the jolt just before 9am. 

Both fire and police confirmed there had been no reports of damages reported in the minutes following the shake. 


Added security for NRL match

Top-flight sport returns to the city on Saturday when Manly stage a "home" match at Christchurch Stadium a fortnight after the mass shootings at two mosques which claimed 50 lives.

New Zealand has been placed on a high threat alert since and police have reminded event organisers nationwide to be aware that a proliferation of memorial events has the potential to stretch law enforcement resources.

However, a large police presence remains in Christchurch and will be out in force at Friday's National Remembrance Service at Hagley Park.

Magnitude 5.7 quake hits near Christchurch

The 1.13pm quake was centred 15km east of Christchurch, at a depth of 15km, Geonet reports.