Shaken but not stirred, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern carries on with TV interview during quake

An earthquake struck during a live television interview with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She felt the Earth move under her feet, but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern barely missed a beat when an earthquake struck during a live television interview Monday morning.

Ardern interrupted Newshub host Ryan Bridge to tell him what was happening at the Parliament complex in Wellington, the capital.

“We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan, quite a decent shake here,” she said, looking up and around the room. “But, um, if you see things moving behind me.”

New Zealand sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is sometimes called the Shaky Isles for its frequent quakes.


Monday’s magnitude 5.6 quake struck in the ocean about 62 miles northeast of Wellington, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake hit just before 8 a.m. and was felt by thousands of New Zealanders who were getting ready to start their workweeks. It was strong enough to rattle food from shelves and stop train services.

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There were no reports of major damage or injuries.

Ardern continued on with her interview, telling the host the shaking had stopped.

“We’re fine, Ryan,” she said. “I’m not under any hanging lights. I look like I’m in a structurally sound place.”

A public mental health crisis swelled in New Zealand after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Ardern, who has been leading the country’s health and economic response to the coronavirus crisis, said later that the thought going through her head when the quake struck was: “Are you serious?”

A 2011 quake in the city of Christchurch killed 185 people and destroyed much of the downtown area. The city is continuing to rebuild.