A "rock 'n' roller" earthquake struck near Tokoroa yesterday and was felt as far north as Kerikeri and as far south as Southland.

According to GeoNet, more than 10,000 people reported feeling the magnitude 5.8 quake, which occurred at 7.19am, 20km southeast of Tokoroa at a depth of 175km.

"Heard something, got up, walked to the door then decided to hang in the doorway for a few creaky seconds. It was one juicy rock n roller," Jeremy Allan D'Herville, in Nelson, said on Twitter.

Caroline Milligan, commentator on social media use in emergency management, felt the quake at home in Ashhurst near Palmerston North.


"The whole house started rocking and then I heard something fall. It went on for about 20 seconds," she said. "After about 15 seconds it started to taper off, and that's when I got up to pick up my computer."

The quake knocked over several photographs and caused the remote controls in her living room to fall to the floor.

Sandra, surname unknown, wrote on Twitter: "TV wobbled. House creaked. Photos on dresser shook. Cat was not perturbed and wanted breakfast."

Sara Knox tweeted after the quake shook her awake in Wellington. "Hope Mt Tongariro didn't feel it and get ideas."

GNS seismologist Anna Kaiser said the earthquake would not cause any further volcanic activity for the lively mountain, about 120km to the south. "It's part of a totally different system." Nor was it related to the magnitude 7.3 quake which hit northeastern Japan on Friday night.

"We get quakes like this from time to time and although it's a magnitude 5.8, which is moderate, it was very deep. But it was felt over a very wide area, in part because of where it occurred, in a subducting plate system where the Pacific Plate goes under Australian Plate." Police and the Fire Service received several calls but no reports of serious damage.