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New Zealand tsunami threat downgraded, people asked to return home

WELLINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - New Zealand downgraded its tsunami threat level, as the largest waves have now passed, the National Emergency Management agency said on Friday in its latest update.

"All people who evacuated can now return," it said.

Thousands of New Zealanders on the east coast of the country's North Island were evacuated to higher ground after three offshore earthquakes triggered tsunami sirens and warnings. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Tom Hogue)