12 Oct 2015

Strong quake shakes lower North Island

10:44 pm on 12 October 2015

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has shaken the lower North Island.

GeoNet said the strong quake struck at 9.05pm about 20 kilometres east of Pongaroa.

GeoNet said the strong quake struck at 9.05pm about 20 kilometres east of Pongaroa. Photo: GeoNet

The earthquake was centred about 20 kilometres east of Pongaroa on the east side of the lower North Island, GeoNet said.

It struck shortly after 9pm at a depth of 30 kilometres.

Guy Raleigh owns the Pongaroa Hotel and had just got into bed when the earthquake started.

"It was a goodie - my wife's been living up here 23 years in Pongaroa - we get quite a few of them but that's the best one I've felt for a very long time.

"Everything just started rumbling and rolling, and then a good shake, a lot of stuff, a lot of photos and bits and pieces falling around.

"It was pretty scary stuff... like a train going up the road really... just rumble, rumble, rumble," he said.

Mr Raleigh said it was hard to tell if there was any damage to his home but he would be out in the morning to check.

The quake was felt as far away as Whanganui, Napier and Wellington.

John McCormick, who lives in Waipukurau, about 100km north of Pongaroa, said there was two parts to the earthquake - a slow roll then a violent noise - and his whole house moved.

He said his house was not damaged but it was a "bloody good shake".

GNS scientist Caroline Holden said the quake may have been felt as far as Wellington but it occurred too deep to cause problems.

"There would have been a decent shake near the epicentre but we don't expect any damage."

Police Central Communications has confirmed there have been no reports of damage.

There have been several aftershocks in the lower North Island. One of the strongest, which hit about 10.20pm, measured 4.1 and was 25 kilometres deep.