The East Cape has been shaken by a strong 5.1 magnitude earthquake this evening.

It struck at a depth of 22km, 65km east of Te Araroa at 5.56pm, according to GeoNet.

A second 3.5 quake hit 15km northwest of Ruatoria at a depth of 41km at 6.20pm. It was rated as "weak".

The shakes follow a 7.1 earthquake that rattled the East Cape coast at the beginning of the month.

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Te Araroa resident Matekino Smith said today's strong quake was "a bit up and down" but not enough to worry her.

"Compared to the one that we did have, this one here wasn't so big to me and it wasn't so long," she said.

"It wasn't enough to get us running again, packing and going again."

She had left Te Araroa for about three hours after the 7.1 quake earlier this month.

A Ruatoria resident said she had not felt much more than tremors this evening.

GeoNet had received 79 reports from people who felt the earthquakes tonight.

The Fire Service and police had not received any earthquake-related callouts in the area.