A Civil Defence training website appears to be at fault for sending out a false alarm for a quake.
The Ministry sent an alert to newsroom heads, officials, and out over twitter, warning of a major earthquake at the Kermadec Islands with a tsunami risk to New Zealand.
They reported the incident on Twitter, quickly deleting the first tweet and replacing it with another apologising for the mistake.
"The tweet we have deleted related to an old earthquake notification. There is no current event. We apologise for any confusion," they said.
The tweet we have deleted related to an old earthquake notification. There is no current event. We apologise for any confusion.— MCDEM (@NZcivildefence) March 14, 2019v
Ministry Director Sarah Stuart-Black says her initial understanding is their training site was being used.
"It seems that a message from a former Kermadec Earthquake was then sent out publicly from that training site."
Located northeast of the North Island, the Kermadec Islands are around 800 to 1000km away.
The islands are of volcanic origin and are uninhabited, except for Raoul Island where a team of Department of Conservation staff carry out weed control work.