“It was very scary, and a large number of older people were quite upset and a number had to be escorted away,” said Christchurch mayor Bob Parker.
The Canterbury region has experienced an ongoing string of aftershocks since a 6.3 magnitude quake laid waste to the heart of Christchurch on February 22.
The names of 172 victims of that quake have been released as of early April.
There were no reports of significant damage or injuries from Saturday’s 5.3 aftershock, which struck at 5:49 p.m. local time.
The U.S. Geological Survey placed the epicenter 9 miles east-southeast of Christchurch, at a depth of only about 6 miles.