An underwater volcano off Tonga continues to spew ash hundreds of metres into the air, exploding about every five minutes, according to TV3 New Zealand.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano, located about 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital Nuku‛alofa, was filmed by Taaniela Kula, a geologist for the Tongan government.

The volcano, which first erupted in 2009, had been rumbling in recent weeks before exploding violently in the past few days, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported.

Several Air New Zealand flights have been affected, including one between Auckland and Nuku‛alofa on Monday (January 12) that was diverted to Samoa, New Zealand media reported.

Further flights to and from Tonga have been disrupted over the past week, New Zealand media reported.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai is one of many volcanos that line the Tonga Trench which lies on the Pacific Plate.

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