A powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea's New Britain island on Tuesday, prompting fears of "hazardous" tsunami waves for coasts within 1,000 km of the quake's epicenter.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said: 'Hazardous tsunami waves from this quake are possible within 1,000km of the epicentre along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands'.
Kokopo town has a rapidly grown population of more than 20,000.
Scientists do not have sea level gauges in this remote corner on the Bismark Archipelago, but they later said they believed the threat had passed.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management told 1 NEWS the quake was assessed by GNS Science as having no tsunami threat to New Zealand.
A tsunami alert was issued for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
A 7.5-magnitude quake hit the rugged highlands region in February 2018 that triggered landslides, burying homes and killing at least 125 people.
There are regular earthquakes in the country, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire - a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. It plans to monitor movement in the area over the coming hours.
"Based on all available data, hazerdous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts", the center said in a bulletin.
The quake struck 45km northeast of the New Britain capital, Kokopo, at 12.58 UTC, and was 10 km deep.