New Zealand authorities have withdrawn an evacuation order issued after a series of earthquakes in the Pacific. The threat level for a tsunami has been revised downwards as the highest waves have passed, authorities say.

Residents of certain areas of the Pacific including northern New Zealand were warned of high waves after a series of earthquakes of magnitude 8.1. Small “tsunami waves” have been observed off Tonga Island, according to the Hawaii Tsunami Warning Center. They could grow into waves of up to three meters.

The last quakes were at the Kermadec Islands, about 800 kilometers from New Zealand’s North Island. Earlier in the day there was a quake with a magnitude of around 7.0 on the east coast of the island. Initially there were fears of a tsunami.

Authorities called on residents in coastal areas to flee to higher areas, but dangerous tidal waves and damage failed to materialize. New warnings were issued later. The Pacific Alert Center issued tsunami alerts for coastal areas including Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and a number of other islands.

“People should leave beaches and cease all water activities,” an emergency services spokesman said on the radio. People are advised not to pick up their children from school first, to avoid traffic jams.

New Zealand’s National Crisis Management Agency (NEMA) warned residents that the earthquakes could potentially have a major impact, despite being relatively distant. “The earthquake may not have been felt everywhere, but an immediate evacuation is needed as a devastating tsunami is possible.”

Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from the coastal areas. They may now return home.