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Parliament a refuge for quake rattled

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/11/2016

An Argentinian backpacker seeking refuge at Wellington Parliament was discussing the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in his hostel when a 7.5 magnitude quake rocked New Zealand.

Ian Rudd arrived in Wellington from the South Island only hours before the quake struck, just after midnight on Monday.

He described the moment the quake hit as scary, strange and surreal.

"We just covered under the table and then went out of the building ... then because of the tsunami alert," he said.

Travellers were taken to higher ground before being taken to Parliament's executive building.

British travellers John and Shirley Whyle, who have also taken refuge in the Beehive, have already begun the mammoth task of cancelling five weeks of holiday plans.

Their son Richard, who lives in Auckland and is travelling with them, had arranged a five week trip including a ferry to the South Island and a train journey.

Instead of sightseeing around Wellington as planned on Monday they too were waiting until their hotel is cleared and they are able to collect their belongings.

The couple heard the rumble and were tossed around their room.

"We're a bit sixes and sevens at the moment. We've got about 10 bookings to cancel," Mr Whyle, from Lancashire, said.

Mrs Whyle said she's not keen on heading back to their hotel, where they were staying on the top floor.

"I'm not sure what we'll do next," she said.

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