Tsunami warnings have been cancelled for a vast region in the South Pacific after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the Santa Cruz Islands.

There were reports the tsunami had damaged villages in the Santa Cruz Islands and Solomon Islands, but no immediate word of any deaths.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami wave a metre tall was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands. There were no immediate reports of damage in that area.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded about 70 kilometres west of Solomon Islands before the 8.0 quake struck.

Tsunami warnings had been in effect for Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna. A tsunami watch had also been issued for Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and a number of islands further away from the epicentre.

Atenia Tahu, who works for the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp. in the capital of Honiara, told The Associated Press that most people remained calm.

"People around the coast and in the capital are ringing in and trying to get information from us and the National Disaster Office and are slowly moving up to higher ground," Tahu said. "But panic? No, no, no, people are not panicking."

The disaster management office in Vanuatu said there were no reports of damage or injuries there.

The Solomon Islands lie on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an earthquake and volcanic zone where about 90 per cent of the world’s quakes occur. More than 550,000 people live on the islands.

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed 50 people and left thousands homeless in the western Solomon Islands in 2007.

With files from The Associated Press