Magnitude-7.8 Earthquake Strikes New Zealand

PHOTO: Debris from buildings are seen on a sidewalk in Wellington, Nov. 14, 2016 following an earthquake in New Zealands South Island city of Christchurch. PlayMarty Melville/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Powerful Quake Devastates Remote Area of New Zealand, 2 Dead

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake in New Zealand brought waves up to about 8 feet high, with the possibility that they would reach 10 to 16 feet high.

The quake struck the South Island of New Zealand shortly after midnight Monday local time, according to the US Geological Survey.

Waves reached 8 feet along the northern portion of the South Island of New Zealand, and offshore to the east, according to Vindeel Hsu of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

PHOTO: People evacuated from buildings along Dixon Street check their mobile phones while sitting on a bench in Wellington, New Zealand, after a 6.6 earthquake, Nov. 14, 2016.Ross Setford/SNPA via AP
People evacuated from buildings along Dixon Street check their mobile phones while sitting on a bench in Wellington, New Zealand, after a 6.6 earthquake, Nov. 14, 2016.

New Zealand's Civil Defense Ministry is warning people to stay away from beaches until is does pass.

The earthquake that generated the waves was centered over land, about 59 miles from Christchurch.

New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management tweeted that there is a tsunami threat for both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. It tweeted that the North Island may be hit first, writing, "The tsunami may arrive in the Eastern Coast of the North Island shortly. Move inland or to higher ground immediately."

Christchurch was struck by a magnitude-6.3 earthquake in 2011 that killed 185 people.

ABC News' Matthew Foster contributed to this report.