Where were New Zealand’s largest earthquakes Historically, New Zealand has experienced many large earthquakes. The biggest NZ earthquake - magnitude 8.2 Wairarapa earthquake in 1855.
On an international scale, the 1855 earthquake is of major significance in terms of the area affected and the amount of fault movement. About 5000km2 of land was shifted vertically during the quake. The maximum uplift was 6.4m near Turakirae Head, east of Wellington. The maximum horizontal movement along the fault was about 18m. This is the largest displacement along a vertical fault line ever recorded.