A magnitude 4.2 earthquake has struck Central Hawke's Bay this morning.

GeoNet information shows the quake shook at a depth of 9km at 10.15am, 5km south of Waipukurau.

Shaking was moderate and may have been felt in Castlepoint, Dannevirke, Eketahuna, Feilding, Hastings, Hunterville, Napier, Palmerston North, Pongaroa, Porongahau, Taihape and Waipukurau.

Helen Pederson, who lives 7km south of Waipukurau on Porangahau Rd, said she was in her kitchen making a cup of coffee when the "severe but brief" quake started shaking.

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"It was very sudden and pronounced shaking but we live in a very old home so it does rattle around a bit. Usually when there's an earthquake you wonder if you need to go outside but with this one the dogs scarpered and I did too."

She said the earthquake would have only lasted seconds but she felt it was strong enough to get her outside.

"When I got outside I could hear the earthquake travelling away north towards Waipukurau and I could still hear the rumble of it moving along."

Otane woman Kathy Ritchie of Tree Guys Nurseries said staff were just finishing morning tea when one person felt a "short sharp jolt".

However they just thought someone had bumped into the table so it was nothing major, she said.

Kayla-Michele Roberts was in Waipukurau when the earthquake struck and said it was short-lived.

"I just felt a sharp jolt and I got up but it didn't continue so I checked GeoNet and they said it was a 4.0 magnitude quake."

Ms Pederson said there was a fault line running just 20m from her century-old homestead and regular quakes near Porangahau but this shake up was notable.

"It felt like it was right underneath our house but of course it wasn't. The only thing that happened was our stove, which has a big drawer on the bottom, which opened itself."

Ms Roberts said she hoped there weren't any more large shakes as she feared there would be a tsunami.

Having a household emergency plan, survival items, a getaway kit and knowing your tsunami evacuation route are all recommended preparations for earthquakes.

Visit www.getthru.govt.nz/ and www.civildefence.govt.nz/ for more information.