A magnitude 5.0 tremor some are describing as the most violent ever felt has rocked Taranaki this morning.

The quake Geonet describe as "strong" was centred 10km north of Opunake and felt widely across central New Zealand.

There are no reports of damage though residents say the tremor rattled homes and caused furniture to bang into walls.

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Taranaki Civil Defence
about 4 months ago

Wakey wakey, earthquake shakey.

That shake was 10km north west of Opunake at magnitude 5, 14km deep.

It struck just before 6am and was 16km deep.

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More than 2000 people from Hamilton to Nelson have reported they felt the tremor.


Civil Defence said it was not aware of any damage following the early-morning quake.

Taranaki residents have described a terrifying noise preceding 30 seconds of shaking.

Many were jolted out of beds by the quake as homes groaned and swayed violently.

Shaun and Megan Dymond described the moments leading up to the frightening wake-up call.

"We're in Oaonui, just out of Opunake & it was violent here. Woke up to a strange noise, almost like a screeching noise, then bam!! Strongest one I've ever felt."

Kay Saunders posted on Facebook her dogs took off outside as they heard the quake approach. It was followed by a rumbling and a sharp jolt.

Okato resident Sarah Cash posted: "Everything was rocking in Okato, was the biggest I've felt for awhile!"

"I normally never feel them but that one I felt. I'm just in Warea outside of Okato. Scared the poop out of me. Think I even let out a little scream of fright," wrote Christina Anne Pennington on Facebook.

Hawera resident Katrina Jones posted the magnitude 5.0 tremor was intense.

"Felt bigger than that. Felt like I was on a stormy sea. House was swaying hardcore."

"I guess when the earthquake wakes you up from a dream about Trump winning the election, it doesn't want you sleeping anymore," wrote Evie Christiansen.

The quake has been followed by a weak magnitude 2.9 aftershock west of Whanganui.

A New Plymouth New World employee said she definitely felt the jolt but the supermarket wasn't damaged.

"It wasn't a very big one. We're all good."

New Plymouth Z Station employee Bryce Williamson said the earthquake lasted around half a minute but nothing fell off the shelves.

"It was just a very slight vibration here, I could see the windows moving a bit.

"I was told it was a jolt but it felt like steady vibration."