People walk along Kohimarama Beach in Auckland in 2011.Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

NEWS BRIEF A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck near the northeastern coast of New Zealand at 4:37 a.m. local time Friday.

The tremor occurred 19 miles beneath the ocean about 103 miles northeast of the city of Gisborne, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defense said there was a “potential tsunami threat” after the quake, a common warning in Pacific countries after a major seismic event.

New Zealand is still recovering from a 6.3-magnitude quake that struck off the coast of Christchurch in 2011, killing 185 people and devastating the city’s infrastructure.

While Friday’s earthquake is stronger than the 2011 temblor, it was also deeper beneath the ocean crust and further from land, making similar levels of damage unlikely.

This is a developing story and we’ll update as we learn more.

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