A strong earthquake has struck in Hawke's Bay.

The 5.6 magnitude quake struck at 1.21pm 70km south east of Porangahau, at a depth of 40km.

Originally reported as a 5.4 magnitude, the US Geological Service revised the reading to 5.6 magnitude.

Porangahau's historic Chapelwick Homestead "shook" strongly, according to owner Deborah Beldham. "It gave me a fright and I ran out of the house," she said. "The homestead shakes quite a bit but I think it's designed for that - the chandelier was swinging in the foyer."

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Rose Wilder was sitting in her car in the township when the quake struck.

"It was quite rolly. It didn't last terribly long," she said.

Despite feeling the earthquake Ms Wilder said she wasn't alarmed.

"You kind of get used to them around here. It's just one of those things that happens around here. You just carry on."

Carole Reese said she felt the earthquake.

"I was sitting having lunch and the Venetian blinds started to sway back and forth."

"I thought 'Oh hell here comes the 7.8 that we are expecting'. It only lasted a few seconds but put me into panic mode as I'm only just starting to get my kit together."