Wellington is in shutdown as engineers examine earthquake damage to buildings in the CBD, but business in the capital is "resilient", the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce says.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the upper South Island overnight, triggering hundreds of aftershocks and killing two people.

Wellington's CBD is closed while inner-city buildings are assessed for damage, KiwiRail has postponed ail and ferry services in and out of the city, but Wellington International Airport is operating as usual.

Watch: Damage in Wellington after deadly earthquake


New Zealand's central bank and stock exchange officials say the nation's payments systems is unscathed and the stock market will open as normal.

Chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce John Milford said the capital was "resilient" after the 2013 Seddon quake.

"Given that we had those couple of shakes a few years ago businesses here have plans in place for what needs to happen."

Milford said all businesses would need to check on their staff and then follow the advice of police and the Wellington City Council.

The Chamber of Commerce wouldn't be going to their Hunter St office today, but will all be working from home, Milford said.

Businesses that could operate remotely should do so, he said.

"After the last quake we had most buildings checked by engineers in two or three days, now we expect to be back at work tomorrow."

Milford said it was too early to assess the cost of such an event on the capital, but confirmed there were reports of damage to buildings.


Wellington businesses Xero and Trade Me have told staff to work remotely, but neither anticipate any disruption to their services.

- with BusinessDesk