A large earthquake north of New Zealand has led to a number of ghost quakes across the North Island this morning.

A magnitude 5.7 quake struck 8.26am in the Kermadec Islands, nearly 1500km northeast of the country.

The tremor, which was 450km deep, triggered a trio of tremors on earthquake-recording drums in Hawke's Bay and the East Coast.

GNS seismologist John Ristow said it was a phenomenon known as ghost quakes, where the drums picked up a strong quake and recorded it as a local tremor.

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Shallow, strong ghost quakes were recorded off Pongaroa, Wairoa and Te Araroa and struck within a minute of each other.

The quakes, which all measured around 4.5, were deleted by Geonet after the ghosting was detected.

Ristow said people may have felt the original off-shore quake.