Whanganui residents may have experienced a bit of shaking while eating their cornflakes yesterday morning.

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake, centred west of Masterton at a depth of 24km, struck at 7.41am. Geonet recorded the quake as "strong", and said it was felt throughout the lower North Island.

People's experiences of the quake were quite varied - some described it as a long, swaying shake, while others said they hadn't noticed it.

On the Wanganui Chronicle's Facebook page, Nancy Rhodes of Whanganui East said it was a "good shake".

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"Then it was gentle rolls for about two or three seconds."

Also in Whanganui East, Sarah Jasch said she and her family were experiencing their first quake in their new home.

"I thought it was quite a decent one, but my partner on the other side of the house didn't feel a thing."

Tracey Hatcher was woken up by the earthquake and "didn't realise what it was" at first.

Ruth Penn said the earthquake went on for a long time "but was quite gentle".

Another person thought it "rumbled with a tail."

The quake disrupted commuter train services out of the Wairarapa and prompted checks on the region's bridges. Flights in and out of Wellington Airport were delayed for a short time.

However, a Central Fire Communications spokesperson said there had been no reports of damage. There were numerous aftershocks, the biggest of which measured 3.4.