Little damage from huge Pacific quake; tsunami threat passes

People gather on high ground in Whangarei, New Zealand, as a tsunami warning is issued Friday. (Mike Dinsdale/New Zealand Herald via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the South Pacific in modern history triggered tsunami warnings across the ocean and forced thousands of people in New Zealand to evacuate coastal areas Friday. Small tsunami waves were seen, but little damage was apparent hours later.