Last night’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake in the South Taranaki Bight is the largest to strike the region in more than 100 years, GNS Science says.
The quake struck at 10.36pm, 60km south-west of Opunake in Taranaki, at a depth of 230km.
It was felt strongly around the west coast of the lower North Island, and was widely felt from the Bay of Plenty to Canterbury.
No tsunami was generated by the quake.
Waiouru resident Adrienne Murphy told the Herald it was the “biggest shake we have felt in years”.
Residents in Wellington reported being startled by shakes, which lasted for about 15 seconds.
Some said the shakes were strong enough to topple household appliances, but the central Fire Service communications centre said it had received no reports of earthquake-related damage.
Wellington resident Sam Rowe said he felt the walls of his house shaking.
“It shook for about 5 to 10 seconds – things rattled but nothing was knocked over. It wasn’t that severe … and our power’s still on.”